Let’s make it really count this year . . .
Holidays always occasion a storm of gift giving. Expensive gifts, purchased at fashion marts of the world; cherished ones made by loving hands; and childish tokens to be treasured as long as life and memory last in the mind of the parent who received them. All are exchanged.
But, humanly, we often overlook the most wonderful gift of all, the gift of words and acts of love. We shy away from words that come from within, the true coinage of the heart. Strangely, we will sacrifice and go without to save money for a gift, yet will withhold the more precious gift that costs not one cent.
For it doesn’t take money to give of yourself. We all can give of warmth, hope and courage. We can all offer a shoulder for someone to shed a few tears, and there is not one among us who hasn’t at sometime also needed that understanding shoulder for our own tears.
We can give comfort to someone who is ill, disturbed or in sorrow. This also should be easy, for everyone—even you and I have – – – and will probably again be in need of love and encouragement.
These gifts may be difficult the first times you give them, for the words may be unfamiliar to your lips. But it takes so little time to pat your husband on the shoulder as he leaves for work, to tell him you understand how hard the day sometimes must be but that you love him for doing it for you and your children.
It takes so little time for a husband to put his arm around his wife and speak words of love to her. To tell her how much he loves her, the home she makes for him, the time she gives to prepare the food and to care for the children.
It’s such a little effort to phone a friend and say “I’ve been thinking of you” or send an email, or write a note, “I haven’t heard of you for so long and wondered about you.”
We even become so accustomed to our own children we forget to tell them that “No matter how much I scold you over little things, I really think you’re wonderful.” Or to a friend, “Thanks for the many hours I’ve shared with you. Your friendship is precious to me.”
I’m reminded of all this because recently the husband of a friend suddenly died during the day. But that very morning as he was leaving for work he turned back and said “I think I’ll take time for another cup of coffee,” and they shared a few precious, unexpected moments of quiet.
It was so un-like him, so different from his usual morning rush, that when, in just hours, an accident took him and he never returned, she cherished these few moments like gold. “In his own way,” she said, “he told me that morning that even though we’d had rough times, he loved me and our children.”
Now, of course, most of us leave home in the morning and very routinely return that night. But sometimes some of us don’t. With such awareness we shouldn’t let our gift-giving be only for special occasions or limited to material things. It takes such a little time, and not one cent, to give the more precious ones.
Words of love, friendship and understanding are, after all, the best both to give and to receive. Not as a formal ritual, but naturally, almost casually. So, during every one of the thirty-one days ahead, in word or in deed, tell someone you love them.
It’s in our power to make another person’s day special. Let’s do it and hope this special gift-giving will spur others to do the same. Worth a try.