“Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”Luke 6:38
Several years ago, our son, Eric, gave us a great gift. After growing increasingly frustrated with holiday shopping, he told us he was bowing out of the Christmas gift business. He gave us a list of charities in which to donate the money we would have spent on his gifts and asked us to provide the same for him. In short, he gave us the gift of non-gifting!
We shared the idea with our daughter, Anna. Being in in a state of transition, she certainly didn’t want or need more stuff to haul around so she, too, endorsed the idea. We have kept it up all these years, deciding together on a donation that will serve those in need because of natural disasters or other calamities, or simply because of our collective concern about poverty, disease, or environmental conservation. Thus, we gave one year to an organization serving those who had suffered the devastation of Hurricane Sandy and another year to the victims of the floods in Colorado. This year, I suspect our dollars will go to those aiding victims of the Ebola virus.
In truth, there was great relief in bowing out of the exchange of presents. No more mall crawls or Black Fridays. No more fretting over finding the right present or one that, at least, won’t require the hassle of an exchange. Granted, our family is small and we have no little children to consider. Even so, giving to others who are truly in need rather than a bunch of stuff to one another seems fitting for a season focused on the great gift of love embodied in the person of Jesus. We each donate to charitable organizations throughout the year, but doing so in concert with one another brings a particular sense of joy. I am proud of the way in which my children consider so seriously the concerns of those in need, and delight in the conversation that ensues around the charity of choice for the year. Together we have become even more aware of our abundance and the simple gift of giving to others. What we have received in return is a gift beyond measure.
Saint Katherine Drexel inherited a large fortune and gave it all away in order to help others, particularly Native Americans and African Americans, improve their lives through education. Read about her story and download activities for your class or family.