There is nothing more important in this life than the relationships we develop, the lives we touch, and the people we love. In a world permeated with sensationalism and animosity, we can easily become ensnared in the lure of disagreement; and focus more on what we can take from others, rather than what we can give.
I grew up in humble circumstances. My mom was a single parent, raising five young children and working three jobs just to make ends meet, all while attending school full time. We didn’t have much. One particular Christmas, my mom sat us children down, and explained that she was not sure Santa would be able to visit our home that year. We didn’t fully understand why, but we did understand the sadness in our mom’s eyes. Though Santa wouldn’t come with his bag full of presents, we were happy. Why? Because our mom had taught us that in life, it’s not what you take, but what you give that brings true and lasting happiness.
“Where there is love, there is life.”
That Christmas morning will be one I will never forget. True to her word, Santa didn’t come that year…or so we thought. There were no presents under the tree, but as my mom opened the front door to feel the cool, crisp air, she gasped. There on the front porch was an enormous box full of wrapped Christmas presents, each inscribed with one of our names and the words, “From Santa.” My mom burst into tears. It wasn’t until I was older that I fully understood the significance of those tears…the significance of the life forever touched as a result of that outpouring of love.
“A true act of goodwill always sparks another.”
To this day, I have no clue as to the identity of our Secret Santa, and I certainly don’t remember the gifts I received. But I will never forget the feeling of that Christmas morning, and the joy I felt knowing that Santa had come after all. You see, some loving stranger gave us the gift that cannot be taken, lasting and loving memories borne of a selfless act of love. The feelings of that day have forever shaped my life, and I am reminded that despite a world full of animosity, love still binds us all. My wife and kids now continue that tradition of giving to those in need. Our hope is to give what cannot be taken.
“Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.”
In this season of giving, may we remember that it’s not what we take, but what we give that brings true and lasting happiness. Be the love we desire to see in the world, and do for others what they sometimes cannot do for themselves. It’s in this spirit of gratitude and service that we unlock the fullness of life and all the joys it has to offer.