The Christmas season always bring with it a wealth of emotion and experience. There is anticipation for the opening of presents, the chilling with family & friends, and the eating of food. There is the solemness of another year having gone by so quickly. There is the thought of how fortunate one may be to not have to fight for your next meal. But what I am learning more about this Christmas than any other is the principle and discipline of giving to gain.
I am not referring to a health & wealth version of the gospel that is misleading to many who buy into this line of thinking. What I am focusing on is the idea of investment during the holiday season. There is much preparation that goes into Christmas. We plan food menus, gift purchasing, gift wrapping/unveiling, social activities and perhaps ways to give back to others through volunteering or serving the less fortunate. All of this effort and energy is an investment; we are giving of ourselves in order to gain something in return. It's not a bad thing to think about what you are getting out of an experience. It's good to be aware of the benefit that an experience has for your own personal growth and development as a person. I guess it all boils down to your definition or motivation for gaining something from an experience.
For example, if the only reason you give a gift to someone on Christmas is so that you will receive one in return, are you really giving a gift? If the only reason you serve others is so that someone will notice your effort and give you a pat on the back and an ego boost, are you really invested in caring for others?
As I head into this Christmas season I find myself focusing more on this idea of giving to gain. Am I giving of myself to others in relationship in order to gain something in return? What is my motivation behind my desire to give? As a dad, I hope that my children see that as I invest in them or give to them, my desire is to gain a wider appreciation for being a parent. I do hope my children reciprocate my affection and care for them, but I do not love with this potential gain of love in mind. I simply love to gain a wider appreciation for love.
We're a week away from Christmas. What are you hoping to gain through giving this season?