There I go again.
Playing the comparison game.
Only this time, I’m wondering if I’ve been giving enough this Christmas season.
When do I know I have given enough – how do I measure giving?
With Christmas comes commercialism, the hustling and bustling shop-til-you-drop mentality. The rush to get the best deal on the perfect item. Running up credit cards, or working extra hours to pay for it all. Plus, multiple holiday parties to attend.
Sometimes thinking about it can be exhausting, or even depressing.
But what also keeps us busy is G_I_V_I_N_G.
Despite all the focus on buying and selling, people do like to give. They donate clothing and blankets to shelters. They collect toys for underprivileged children. They pass out meals at the soup kitchen. They randomly purchase gifts for strangers in a store.
I see people around me donating to the Children’s hospital and Toys for Tots. I see people ringing the bell for the Salvation Army. And I think of the Christmas programs at all the churches, and the people who help make those happen.
And I feel a little small that I am not participating.
As I watch my friends and family busy donating their time and money to others this holiday season, I sit back and wonder:
Am I doing enough?
So I make a checklist in my mind: brought snacks to one Christmas party, helped clean up at another, got gifts for my husband and children, got gifts for my siblings and their families, sent a giftcard to my husband’s family in the lower 48.
For some reason that doesn’t feel like much. All those people are within my sphere of life. What about the lonely and the needy?
And then I remember, there are many, even within my own family, who cannot afford to give very many gifts, and I thank God that I have the means to do this much.
And I remember the boys in my Sunday school class and all the goodies we brought in so they could have an amazing Christmas party, and I smile as I think of the laughter and appreciation.
And I remember the day my kids and I stood outside a store collecting donations for underprivileged children who ride the buses to church Sunday morning. I remember helping to set up and tear down the “shopping center” with items ranging in price from $10 to $100. I remember the looks on the faces of those kids as they chose gifts to pass out to their families Christmas day, gifts they would never have been able to procure on their own. And I blink back tears.
Because giving gifts to family and friends on Christmas can be very fulfilling. But its more fulfilling to know that you’ve given something to a person who had no options. No resources. No hope.
Like what God did for us when He gave His son.
Yes, Christmas is a season of giving, but we don’t have to give like everyone else. There are lots of us out there, each with different talents and skills, and when we pay attention to the promptings, God places us in the right place at the right time. There are many in need, and we can’t do it all on our own.
So rather than feeling guilty about what I am not doing for others, I choose to be grateful for the opportunities I do have to give, and I let God take care of the rest.