When do we learn in life that giving is what brings joy, not receiving? I read a quote on Facebook today posted by a young friend on this great mystery of life.
"The only way to be happy in this life is to be generous". Msgr. McPhee
It is. It is the secret of love. "It's a Wonderful Life" isn't the only work of art portraying what becomes of materialistic, greedy people, the ones who want more always and cannot get enough. They get richer and richer and more and more unhappy.
When I was a teenager I heard this truth from a family friend, a professional woman who frequented our family home often to seek my parents counsel and to immerse herself in family life. She would give us nice gifts, gifts we didn't usually receive, and I remember being taken to a nice restaurant by her as well. She is the one who said one day, as we thanked her for the brand name outfits and perfumes, that giving gifts gave her the most happiness. I never forgot it.
In early married life, with little income and babies arriving, I am quite sure I forgot all about it. There was so much we needed, and the material needs were so crucial and needed to be met.
But we don't completely forget truthful things, do we? Now I tell my kids about the joy of giving and my heart swells with joy to see them giving each other gifts at Christmas, and to the parents. They make things and somehow discover what each likes or wants. Number One gave games and puzzles and a Wii U system which they have all been enjoying immensely. I received such lovely, practical, beautiful gifts from my kids. Number Three brought me a very sweet signed print from Italy of the famous lemon trees by the Italian Amalfi Coast. Number Five gave Husband three gas cards for $20 each. Knowing how hard she works teaching piano, the meaning of these gas cards is much bigger than their dollar value.
Today I am not feeling well and have been resting most of the day. I went into the kitchen to get some water and saw again the basket of fancy chocolates and cookies sent by Number Two and her fiancé. I hadn't dare to open the bigger packages yet, although we all enjoyed the small, individually wrapped Chocolates already. The Godiva chocolate-covered cashews were shining by the light of the window in this snowy day, as if calling me, and I was struck by the generosity of the gift givers. I opened the package and savored three of those cashews and they were heavenly. I was humbled by how they were so careful in ordering and sending the package from Morocco, and what a nice, superb gift it is. Number Two and her fiancé each have a job and work hard making money and planning carefully for their upcoming married life, but that didn't stop them from sending something beautiful to us at Christmas. Number Two, even when very young, loved giving gifts. At Christmas she would always make sure she had a gift for each of us, and every time she comes home she does the same. She has such a very generous, loving heart, and this makes me so proud. Today her act of generosity from afar provided the right treat at the right moment. The Godiva chocolates tasted so, so good, but the appreciation of her generosity in my heart is what made my eyes tear up. May God bless her this Christmas as she misses home and her siblings. May He send her consolation and shower her with the little things that make life so wonderful.