Tuesday, December 21, 2010

On the eve of giving.

Packing our bags to jet to Wichita for the big give at Wesley Hospital with Frosty and Elf Rita. My Kyrie Foundation sweatshirt is packed to keep me warm as Jack Frost plans to hitch a ride with us. Another miraculous trip to bestow glad tidings and tokens of cheer to those children who are often forgotten amidst school concerts, family dinners, cookie parties, Toys R Us and pilgrimages to Mall Santa's lap.

The peds floor of a hospital is the place where time and normalcy hang suspended just out of reach, dangling over IV monitors and tension headaches. It is also the place where angels tread, both literally and figuratively. So many good-deed doers have signed on for Frosty's annual visits, visits born out of sheer generosity. Whether it's the time Frosty and Elf Rita spend acquiring and organizing or the time you spend selecting and delivering these surprises, it is generosity in its purest form ... which got me thinking.

As we approach the day when giving is prime, how do you give? What kind of giver are you? And not just on Christmas, but how do you give year-round?

• Do you give out of obligation? Do you give because everyone else at the office is? Are you expected to give a certain item, a certain amount? Obligatory giving takes all the fun out of generosity because it's not really giving at all. It's burdensome dispensation and there's not a lot of love, if any, in it.

• Do you give with consideration to how it will be received? Do you envision the recipient's reaction? And what if you don't get the reaction you imagined? Are you disappointed? Does the recipient's reaction change how you feel about your giving? As if they don't deserve your gift if they don't act the way you think they should?

• Do you give in hopes of reciprocation? Do you give to get? This is always a dangerous route to take especially with all those white elephant gift exchanges. ;) When you give, do you account? Do you judge the value of someone's gift compared to yours?

• Do you give self-righteously? Do you give to show others how you give? Do you give in hopes of praise or lauded thanks? Or even so He sees what you're giving? What if the recipient does not express the adequate amount of thanks? Does that change whether or not the gift should have been given? Does that change your call to give?

Must admit, there have been times when I've been guilty of all of these. The best, though, is when I give freely and full of joy, when I give simply to give, to help, to be the blessing to someone.

• Do you give altruistically? Do you give without expectation, without guilt, without recourse? Do you give joyfully? Cheerfully? Do you give simply to give, be it time, talent or treasure? Can you give even when they don't "deserve" it or when you're not "feeling it?" Are you able to give and let the gift go where it may? Do you give purely?

That's when giving boomerangs into that warm gushy gift that surges right back atcha. Here are a couple of good things to keep in mind this week:

Luke 6:38
Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.

2 Corinthians 9:6-8
Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.

... "abundance for every good deed." So true. A garden from every seed. And that is my Christmas wish for you, that every one of your good deeds blossom beyond your wildest dreams. I know your good deed with The Kyrie Foundation have certainly propelled this cause beyond mine. ;)

Much love and many blessings for a Merry Christmas and an abundant 2011!

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