Few things can create instant happiness and serve as a constant token of gratitude better than a good gift. Receiving gifts is, in fact, one of the 5 love languages. I remember the time I was in college when my brother bought me an automatic Swiss-made $600 Tissot timepiece for Christmas. I was a big watch junkie in those days and had a modest, but growing collection. That watch was the most expensive gift I have ever received. Every time I looked at it I was reminded of my brother’s generosity. There is power in receiving a good gift. But there is also power in giving a good gift. And this is something that only wisdom and experience can reveal.
When I was a kid, I loved opening gifts. Christmas was my favorite day of the year, and Christmas morning was one of the few days I would voluntarily get up early regardless of how much I had slept the previous night. I loved a lot less watching other people open gifts. Occasionally, my brothers and I would take the money we had saved up and buy something small for each other and for our mother. I knew it was something I should do, and it brought me some satisfaction when I could tell they liked the gift I bought for them. But the joy of gift-giving for me was primarily on the receiving end.
I recently shared my view that what separates a man from a boy is the recognition that his interests are intimately bound to the interests of other people. This results in looking out for the welfare of other human beings, whether that means family, friends, or community. A boy is about himself. A man is about the team. A boy finds fulfillment in getting his needs met independent of others. A man finds fulfillment in meeting the needs of other people. This same transition from treating life as an individual sport to a team sport is characteristic of all personal growth and maturity, whether the individual is male or female. In fact, the conversation could just as well be framed in terms of “what separates a child from an adult.”
This same transition from treating life as an individual sport to a team sport is characteristic of all personal growth and maturity, whether the individual is male or female.
The seasons of my life when I was at my best were the seasons I made an effort to connect with other people and contribute to their well-being. The seasons of my life when I was at my worst were the seasons I was consumed with my own interests and ambitions. There is a mysterious principle built into the world that the people who give the most tend to be the happiest. Some people call it karma. Some people call it sowing and reaping. Some people call it the law of reciprocity. But I can think of many examples in my own life of people who search for what they can give. And I can think of many examples of people who still have the childlike mentality of searching only for what they can take. Will Smith said it simply and effectively, “If you’re not making someone else’s life better, then you’re wasting your time. Your life will become better by making other lives better. . .”
There is a mysterious principle built into the world that the people who give the most tend to be the happiest. Some people call it karma. Some people call it sowing and reaping. Some people call it the law of reciprocity.
There is power in a good gift. And the power works in both directions. That is the beauty of gift-giving. And that is largely why Christmas is such a special time of year. What is the best gift you have ever received?
Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’Acts 20:35