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The spirit of giving

JOINT BASE ANDREWS Md. -- You never know the impact that your gift may have in someone's life. What, to you, may seem like a very small, even insignificant, gift may be a life changing moment for the recipient. For most, it will not be because of the gift itself, but the spirit with which it was given. Many of us live our day to day lives unaware of the difference our small gift or act of compassion can make to a hurting soul.

This most wonderful time of the year is a time to reflect on the true spirit of giving. Unfortunately we have become a very entitlement oriented society in which individuals feel everyone else "owes" them: their employer, family, government, the list goes on and on. When entitlement becomes our motto, gratitude and giving to others tend to go by the wayside. One of the greatest joys we will ever find in this life is in giving to others. Jesus said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." No matter what your faith is, this is a truth to which many would testify based on their own life experiences. It is not in receiving that we find the greatest joys in life but rather in giving. As Winston Churchill said, "You make a living by what you get; you make a life by what you give."

Some of my best experiences in giving have been to those who could not afford to give me any gift in return, except their gratitude. Even greater still has been the joy in giving anonymous gifts. Over the years, my family has known others with specific needs. Sometimes we have had the means to meet those needs. Instead of making a direct gift, we have found creative ways to be anonymous. This allows the recipient to mentally tally all the people who might have cared enough to give such a gift. Seeing their relief in having their need met along with their surprise and joy certainly enhances the joy of giving. My encouragement to you this holiday season is to enjoy the spirit of giving. Perhaps you will even find someone for whom you can meet a tangible need in an anonymous way. For them, you will become a blessing and maybe even an answer to a prayer.