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All Occasion Gifts

The child inside us still likes to get gifts. Not just for Christmas. Not even for our birthdays. And not for the unhappy occasions of surgery, an accident, or a family member’s death. They count, but not like the unexpected gift. An unmerited gift. A random gift. That kind of gift that says, “I’m thinking about you!” or “I miss you” and (perhaps above all else) “I cherish you in my life.” A gift that is wrapped in the kindness of the giver.

In thinking about gifts and giving, we sometimes quip, “It is better to give than to receive.” That’s kind of in the Bible. Being the Bible, it uses the word “blessed” instead of “better.” Either way, it’s a weird thought. We humans like to get stuff, even if we have to buy it ourselves. We’d much rather receive things than give up or give away or just plain give things. That’s why we have yard sales when we can’t find places for all our stuff – we’d rather get a little money for our excess than simply give it away.

But maybe not all gifts are material. In fact, when we think about it, many gifts are all occasion gifts. Everyday experiences we can freely offer to others. A smile that acknowledges another person’s existence in the world. A greeting to someone you pass by on the sidewalk – now, how hard is that? A short text message to a friend going through a tough time (that device is never all that far away, right?). Stopping in a parking lot to lend a hand to a stranger struggling to get a sizeable purchase into a vehicle… yes, a stranger. That’s one of the joys of all occasion gifts: we don’t have to check the credentials of the recipients to make sure they’re worthy of receiving them. And here’s another one: we don’t have to examine our bank accounts to make sure we can afford to give them.

Oh. Did I just type “joys of all occasion gifts”? Why yes, I did. So, there are benefits in giving. Maybe we’d even say there are blessings which boomerang back to us when we give. Giving has a built-in probability of multiplying. We’ll likely get a smile in response to the one we give away. And there’s a good chance we’ll receive a word or two back from the person we greeted. Of course your friend is going to text you! And that stranger will probably lend a hand to someone else having been infected with your compassion.

Well, now, there might not be a single shred of difference between giving and receiving when it comes to all occasion gifts wrapped in kindness!

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