My children made their Christmas lists. They combed the toy-filled aisles of Target, called their grandparents to convey their wishes, and talked about how they should get their list to Santa. And when I started worrying about how they had been completely sucked into the consumerism of the holiday and were only worried about getting the things they wanted, they each pulled me aside to whisper in my ear what they want to give each other.
As much as we all like to be on the receiving end of things, I believe that we all want and need the opportunity to give as well. It may be the giving of gifts or the giving of our time or money as volunteers or donors. Whatever we give and in whatever manner we give it, there is satisfaction and joy in being able to touch someone else’s life.
This is true of the women who find themselves homeless and living at Calvary Women’s Services as well. Ruth had tears in her eyes when she told me how it felt to be able to share the Thanksgiving food basket she had received from a Calvary donor at her family’s celebration. Mary has gone through some presents she received at the shelter and has re-wrapped them to give to her children – the first time in a long time that she will be able to give them a gift. Helen offered her time speaking at a Calvary event and thanked me for this opportunity to “give back.” Last week at Calvary’s holiday party, Carla asked if she could give each of my children one of the stuffed animals she keeps on her bed. She wanted to thank them for the cookies they had made for the party.
This week, each of my children will have their chance to buy a gift for their sibling. I expect that they will delight in choosing something for one another. I also expect that the purchases might not remain secrets until the gifts are opened! My holiday wish is that all people will have the opportunity to experience the spirit of giving and receiving this holiday season. Happy Holidays!