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Christmas is almost upon us and in the midst of all of the preparations it is our usual practise to turn our thoughts toward giving.

I was in the middle of writing a list of the gifts I wanted to buy and in the middle of that I thought about an invite I had received to go to a friend’s wedding in the very near future and I began thinking of a suitable wedding gift to buy. It was then that I remembered that I had read some instruction regarding giving on my friend’s wedding invitation.

“Please – no gifts except a non-perishable food item to give others a meal,…”

Wow, even at the time of her wedding when it is quite normal for the bride to be thinking about herself and what hers and her husband’s future will be – she was thinking of helping others and it got me thinking….

 This lady, a single mum, had been an inspiration to me over the years. She had come to see me after she had just bought a home for herself and her children. She was very concerned about affording to pay it off and handling her money wisely. Over the years I have noticed that even within her limited funds she has always made room for giving and if she didn’t have enough money within her income – she would find ways to make money over and above her regular work so that she could still give e.g.  baking cakes and all the proceeds going to the charity she was supporting. I have seen her give to her local church, her favourite community based radio station and the list goes on. None of this happened by chance but was part of the regular planning of her budget.

What has stood out to me has been her generous heart. The conviction she feels to give because she sees others less fortunate than herself and she has never let money stand in the way of that giving – if she didn’t have the money she thought of a way to get some. What has also stood out to me is the fact that she has always had enough and she has received great joy from giving and helping others. Her life has not always been easy but her happiness has grown over the years and she has certainly exemplified the quote by Ben Carson,

            “Happiness doesn’t result from what we get but from what we give”

When we take the time to think of others and to share with them what  we have been given, our lives get bigger and more blessed and happiness flows but if we become inward looking and see how little we have our world gets smaller and we become more anxious and worried.

So as our minds turn to giving at this time of year, let’s not just focus on the latest gadget or toy but let’s also consider that in some families even putting a meal on the table is difficult at this time of year and our small act of giving has the potential to change someone’s life as well as our own!!