Giving gifts during this season has roots in the giving of St. Nicholas. His legacy, be it real or mythical was that he gave. Period. Somewhere along the way we lost that part.
Too often we give because we should. We fall into the 'what would people think' trap. We give because we are pretty sure others will give us a gift and it feels wrong to receive without giving in return. We want to give, we enjoy giving, but we worry is it going to be all right, are they going to like it. We ask for a list of things they might like, but pretty soon, the list starts feeling like demands, and unrealistic ones at that. Those kinds of feelings mean that our Christmases are tarnished, and we feel a lot more like Scrooge than we ought.
Ever feel that the most precious gift was not what you received, but what you gave to someone else? I had that chance this year.
I have a group of imaginary friends over at the Achenblog. Its a group of people who read the writer, Joel Achenbach's Washington Post blog pretty much daily. On most blogs there is the writer and the reader. Seldom do readers connect in significant ways, through comments. Achenblog, from its inception was different. The writer graciously accepted the commenters talking among themselves, responding back and forth, occasionally squabbling, but mostly sharing very civil commentary. Along the way we have become friends. There have been highs and Rovestorm like lows, but it has become an Internet home. I share coffee with them everyday at my desk. These people of all walks of life, of every background, of many beliefs, from every social strata, are my very best imaginary (and not so imaginary) friends. For all our differences we are equal on the big friendly Achenblog porch.
I gave a small token as part of a group gift to one of our members this year. Gifting to her was something I was not required to do, something no one asked me for. Rather, gifting her was something I was offered, something I was given the opportunity to do.
Giving to her was a gift I was given by a whole lot of really nice people. Giving one small thing to her, I got back 10,000 tiny pieces of joy which seem to break open, **pop** and little sparkles sprinkle through moments of my day. I owe my entire season and all the simple contented joy I'm finding in small silly things, to the glow of those little sparkly bits illuminating every corner of my world.
I wish all of you that this year. I hope that you get the gift of one small opportunity and that whatever you do because of that opportunity will light up your world.