"It is in giving that we receive"
With 'Black Friday' now behind us, record amounts of money were spent this past weekend on gifts that will be given this holiday season. Over the coming weeks, people will spend a lot of time and money, stressing and shopping for just the right thing to get for their loved ones, or perhaps will just buy a gift card and call it a day. Many will also wish for certain gifts under the tree, thinking that these will fulfill them, only to be disappointed that they didn't get what they wanted. And yet all of these trinkets will soon be forgotten, many ending up at the local Goodwill or sold at a yard sale within just a few months or years.
Yet, no matter how hard we wish, they're just isn't anything 'out there' in the world - no person, possession or place that will satisfy us for very long, no matter how shiny or new. Eventually, if we are fortunate, we begin to wake-up to the simple truth that, the greatest gifts we can give - and receive - are the gifts of Love, kindness, friendship and deep listening, and all of these are already inside us. We begin to notice that, just bringing our true 'presence' to someone who needs us - just listening with an open heart, can be worth more than the most expensive present, and linger in the heart of the recipient for the rest of their lives.
When we discover that the greatest gifts are not necessarily material, but consist of the contents of our open-heart, we are able to give something that is more precious than any token can ever be; the gift of Love. In this Love, we find the true meaning of the Christmas season, and the generosity of Spirit that can only be found when we give of ourselves freely and openly, to all who cross our paths, without the expectation of anything in return. It is in this practice that we learn the truth of St. Francis' words, "It is in giving that we receive."