The new year is an opportunity to give more of yourself.
Story: Joe Angione
We’ve survived another Christmas season perhaps a bit heavier and a bit poorer after spending money on gifts for kids, grandkids, spouses, friends, and relatives.
I used to think as my wife and I got older, we would spend less on holiday gifts. After all, our children are grown, and our grandchildren, too. That meant no more expensive toys or sports items that we’d get a hug for on Christmas morning and might be broken or lost not long after New Year’s Day.
But today, these gifts are replaced by high-priced cellphones and other electronic “geegaws” that become obsolete so fast that what you bought last year must be replaced this year with something far more expensive.
I never regarded any Christmas item we gave anyone as a “precious” gift. They were things that pleased and brought a “thank you” and a hug. Even something that was urgently needed—a winter coat, braces for a grandchild’s teeth, or a helping hand to pay college tuition—didn’t rate as “precious.”
A precious gift isn’t from a wallet or a fancy store. A precious gift is one that comes from one’s self. As human beings, we have an immense capacity to love and to show love. But as gift-givers, we give things far more often than we give love. Love is your most precious gift. Giving love is the greatest offering you make.
It seems so clear, as the old song says: “Love, sweet love, that’s the only thing that there’s just so little of….” And that’s because we don’t truly give love. We give substitutes or symbols of it.
The world needs love—we all need love—and we need it in its most usable, most valuable, and purest form: caring, time, and attention given to one another.
Devoting time and attention to loved ones isn’t easy in a world that makes incessant demands on our lives. It’s usually much easier to bestow things than to sit together to talk, reminisce, and share hopes and dreams. But, in the final analysis, most, if not all of us, will remember most fondly the good times spent together, the wonderful things done together, not the material things.
It’s the loving relationships long gone, not the objects, that nearly always comprise our fondest, precious memories. Try to make 2018 the year you give more of yourself, and your time, to your loved ones.