“Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a frame of mind.”
-Valentine Davies, ‘Miracle on 34th Street’
IT’S CHRISTMAS!!!! 🎵🌲 🍾 A time for giving gifts and sharing love, warmth and fun round the fire. And feelings of goodwill to all. A time to remember that Christmas is a ‘frame of mind.’
“Peace on earth will come to stay, when we live Christmas every day.”
-Helen Steiner Rice.
“Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts.”
He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.
However, not everyone might think and feel this way. Life is not a Christmas fairytale. We might, like Scrooge, be tempted to say “Bah, humbug!”
Scrooge Head Maquette. Peter Lee. Flickr.
Sometimes we may feel resentful, miserable, stressed, unhappy, lonely, when we are ‘supposed’ to be joyful; not only at Christmas, but generally.
It may be that there are psychological obstacles inside us which prevent us from being able to give freely to others, not only in practical terms, but also in relation to emotional giving.
“Remember, this December, that love weighs more than gold.”
– Josephine Daskham Bacon.
When we have felt deprived and hurt in life, we can sometimes close up emotionally and not be able to ‘give of our heart.’ We may want to reject others and be inclined to shut out the world. We can sometimes be withholding even with those who care for us, because of our own internal pain.
Then, if there is the opportunity, it can be helpful to turn to psychotherapy, or to religion, if there is belief, or maybe to friends who might be able to be there for us.
The notion of giving is thus quite a complex concept; there are many ways of thinking about it.
Perhaps we can all take a moment to ponder about how we would answer some of these questions:
- What is giving about and why do we do it?
- How does giving make us feel?
- Is giving a ‘duty’ or a pleasure, or both?
- Do you give willingly or because you feel it is expected ?
“It is every man’s obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it.” ―Albert Einstein
Buddhist Monks Collecting Alms. Wikimedia Commons.
“Giving is the essence of the great religions of the world – whether you are discussing the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish or Christian religion. It is an essential fundamental principle of all religions, whatever stage of development a society has reached, to sympathize with others and to promote that spirit of equality.”
“A gift is pure when it is given from the heart to the right person at the right time and at the right place, and when we expect nothing in return.”Bhagavad Gita. (Hindu Bible.)“If you knew what I know about the power of giving, you would not let a single meal pass without sharing it in some way.”- Buddha
“We are worth what we are willing to share with others.”
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks.
“Charity does not decrease wealth.” Prophet Muhammed.
What have We To Give?
Giving is not only related to material things, although it can be. We may give love, care, relief, empathy, friendship and so forth. Giving comes in many guises.
It could take the form of an action, such as giving an elderly person a meal, giving someone a compliment, offering shelter, warmth, food, time.
Listening with empathy, giving someone a smile or encouragement, confidence, or a glimmer of hope when things feel difficult, all these are forms of sharing of ourselves with others.
“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” ―Charles Dickens
Small children often give their toys to people they like; they see these as an important gift, for toys are the only material things they own.
Portrait of Sir Francis Ford’s Children Giving a Coin to a Beggar Boy. William Beechey. Wikimedia Commons.
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose …………….
Giving to Get/Salving One’s Conscience.
There are many motivations for giving, not all are wholesome. Some people might give to appear good in the eyes of society, or to rid themselves of guilt. Others could have a manipulative aim or use their gifts to control others.
Many religions urge people to give to others away from the public eye:
“A man who gives charity in secret is greater than Moses.” Rabbi Eleazar.
Muslim people are urged to give charity in secret as well as publicly, but always without showing off to others.
“If you do deeds of charity openly, it is well. But if you bestow it upon the needy secretly, it will be even better for you.” Al Quran.
Wise and aware people know that giving in a showy way can often be more for the benefit of the giver.
“You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving.”
Genuine Giving helps the Giver.
“For it is in giving that we receive.” ―St. Francis of Assisi
“There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward.” Khalil Gibran
Giving is affirming of the self; such generosity can give a warm glow to the giver. Sharing with others is something that can give us a good feeling, a sense of being a part of something bigger than ourselves.
Research indicates that giving is good for our health and enhances our sense of wellbeing:
Collectively, the latest research on altruism shows that being generous activates reward regions in the brain. This may have evolved as a biological reaction to helping others that motivates generosity and binds societies together with cooperation.
“I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.” ―Maya Angelou
I wish all the readers of Ways Of Thinking a Happy Christmas, full of all kinds of giving. Thank you for another year of support and encouragement to me. Your comments and likes are truly gifts and are sincerely appreciated. With love and many good wishes, Linda.