A spirit of giving

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Jeffrey L. Neuberger
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Chaplain
Someone has said there are three kinds of givers -- the flint, the sponge and the honeycomb. To get anything out of a flint you must hammer it, and then you get only chips and sparks. To get water out of a sponge you must squeeze it, and the more you use pressure, the more you will get. But the honeycomb just overflows with its own sweetness.

This is the season of the honeycomb giver - or at least we hope so on the "receiving end" of Christmas gifts. It's also the time of year when "the outcome of the income depends on the outgo for the upkeep"...and the upkeep can be very high if we're not careful.

What makes a gift 'special?' Is it an expensive price tag? I hope not. On that standard I would probably rate very low as someone who doesn't have unlimited resources.

Gifts are about expressing love, appreciation and gratitude; they're about giving from an overflowing heart, not necessarily an overflowing wallet.

In the cartoon strip "For Better or for Worse" the younger sister, Lizzie, rejoices as she tells her big brother, "Look! I got nine dollars an' eleven cents to spend on Christmas!" Lizzie's brother, Michael, replies, "You can't buy something for everyone with nine dollars an' eleven cents, Lizzie!" But with supreme confidence Lizzie exclaims, "I'm gonna try!" Walking away, Michael answers sarcastically, "Well, they're sure gonna be cheap presents." But Lizzie reminds us of the point of Christmas with her answer to Michael: "Nothing is cheap, Michael, if it costs all the money you have!"

I agree with Lizzie. The value of giving is not a sum, but the total commitment to give to others. All of life has value and we have opportunity every day, not just at Christmas, to spend our emotional capital on gifts for others; gifts of time, attention, commitment and love.

It was Winston Churchill who said "We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give." What do you get from your giving?