COLUMN: A mindset of giving
It’s that time of year when everyone has gift giving on their minds. Stores are filled with shoppers looking for that perfect gift.
COLUMN: A mindset of giving
It’s that time of year when everyone has gift giving on their minds.
Stores are filled with shoppers looking for that perfect gift. If you were one of the brave ones who ventured out on the day after Thanksgiving, you were greeted by huge crowds. Others like to do most of their shopping online for a variety of reasons including not having to deal with people who may not be in the most festive of moods.
That leads me to ponder the reasons why people actually go out looking for gifts. If you’re like me, you love giving gifts and that feeling that you get when the person receiving your gift really loves it. We want to do things for the people we love and bring some joy into their life.
Gift giving is a wonderful way to do that. And yet it can quickly turn into a chore instead of act of love. St. Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians alerts us to this. “Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not regretfully or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor. 9:7-8) It’s important to be mindful of our intentions. Giving itself is a gift.
The truth is most everyone loves to be the giver, yet for some, they are unable to give. While many of us have adequate housing and food, there are so many who lack these basic necessities of life. Sufficient healthcare is a struggle for so many. Churches and social service organizations are seeing a sharp increase in the number of people in need. Homelessness is a problem even here in Rome, NY.
Individually, these issues seem insurmountable, but collectively we can all make a difference including system changes so that every person not only survives but thrives. That is a gift everyone deserves.
While some changes take time, there are things we can do right now to begin the process. We can develop a mindset of giving. This includes being open to the needs of others around us. It involves active listening instead of planning what we want to say next. So many disputes that get in the way of real change would be solved if we truly listened to one another.
Listening is a gift as is empathy, kindness, and compassion. Every person is a gift no matter how different they are to us, and when we can see this, we can create real change. That is the heart of justice work. We can create a society and a world that is a gift for all to enjoy. We can bring about peace on earth. It begins with each and every one of us.
So as we go about looking for the perfect gifts, I invite you to do so with a mindset of giving, a mindset of love and joy. Love is the greatest gift. It’s a gift that will last far beyond any other. In fact, love is the basis for this season of Christmas.
It was God’s love and grace that was born on that first Christmas, and it is that same love and grace that is ready to be born in our hearts each and every day. It is poured out for all people in abundance, not because we are worthy, but because God so loves all the world. St. Paul says, “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” (2 Cor. 9:15) Thanks be to God indeed! Merry Christmas!
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