Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Breathe {inspiration for Wednesdays}

Do you know how many total gifts there are in the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas"?  There is a whopping 364!!...wouldn't we all want to have a true love like that?  (In 12 days you get pretty much one gift for every day of the year!!  Whoo hoo!)  To be lavished with such extravagant gifts would be amazing and then it got me thinking....

What if this holiday season we all decided to do some lavish gift giving on someone else?  We may not have lords-a-leaping or drummers drumming, but I do have a friend who, last year, for every dollar she spent on their family, she spent the same amount on someone else in need.  I know two kids who got so excited about the World Vision Gift Catalog last year that they took all the money they had been saving and bought gifts for children across the world!

This year at our house, we are talking a lot about loving others the way we love ourselves and doing for others what we want done to us.  You know....the golden rule!

As much as I'd love to say my kids love to read classic novels and study 2 or 3 foreign languages for fun...I'm afraid I would be lying.  The truth is they love all things "screen" and especially video games.  This year the game system of desire is the XBox 360 with Kinect.  (Can anyone out there relate??)

First, let me say that our kids had to come up with a big percentage of the money for their Kinect and XBox by themselves.  However, what we did do is to sweeten the pot a little AND make it a teachable moment too.  We talked with them about what it might look like to love others the way we love ourselves and we decided that meant to not always give out of our leftovers or hand-me-downs.  To really do something well for someone else means to give them the very things we would want.  And that is what we did...

I have a project I worked on last year that I decided all the proceeds would be used for giving away - for living out the Golden Rule.  When we went down to the Microsoft store, my kids bought their own game system, but we also bought another one to be given away to a local children's hospital.

It was cool to get our own system AND have one for others.  The giving of one XBox kept greediness at bay from our getting.

While I know that others out there may not have the money to buy a game system for an organization or person in need, perhaps we could all entertain the thought of doing something or buying something for others that we would want for ourselves.  Maybe it is a cup of coffee, maybe new clothes, or maybe a bunch of gifts for kids whose mom or dad have been out of work for a while.

Perhaps we could think about taking the money we would spend on ourselves and spending it on someone else - near or far.  I know that we are in a recession and money may be tight, but there is a freedom that comes from giving and a deep joy from relinquishing our tight grip on what we want to hold on to.

This holiday season we may not have 364 gifts to give away.  In fact, I say forget the 5 golden rings...and let's remember the Golden Rule.  Let's ask ourselves "what we want people to do for us, then grab the initiative and do it for them*."  As the picture below reminds us, "give a gift...change a life".  Who knows.. the life you change just might be yours too!

*from Matthew 7:12 in The Message

Breathe, smile and go slowly.

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