The family plans have been set, party dates chosen … the Christmas season is in full force and the decorations that Hobby Lobby put out in September are finally starting to look appropriate. It truly is a magical time of year – a time for love, forgiveness, unification and celebration. This is a great time to evaluate our finances as we head into the final spending days of the year. Looking back on our annual expenditures to see what we deemed worthy of our hard-earned funds is a practice I would recommend to all MCM readers. I recently heard a speaker say, “if you want to see what you truly value in life, pull out your calendar and your bank statement.” As the holiday season is a time for giving, I encourage reflection on the opportunities we have to share our blessings with others. One of the most amazing emotions we can have is the absolutely contagious feeling of happiness that comes with giving. The positivity and energy that come from focusing on others and meeting the needs of those in our communities is literally life-changing.
So, why is a guy who is supposed to write articles on how to be financially prudent taking time to focus on giving? The truth can be summed up best by a quote from Anne Frank: “No one has ever become poor by giving.” As many of us have benefited greatly from recent stock market movements, economic growth and employment opportunities over the last few years, it makes sense to evaluate our ability to make a meaningful impact on our world. There are many who may not feel like they are able to give of their finances – but there are so many other ways to give. Implementing Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy that “the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in service to others” may be just the way you can start to make a difference. The great thing about giving is that your small seed of generosity has a compounding effect. Here is a list of things you can easily implement with a little planning and intentionality:
- Purposefully look for an opportunity to say a quick word of encouragement to someone who needs it.
- Intentionally share eye contact and a smile with someone who looks like they are carrying a heavy burden.
- Send someone a letter of encouragement, an email, or a text letting them know that you are thinking of them during this holiday season.
- Call Carriage Town Ministries to see if there’s a specific need you may be able to meet.
- Volunteer to help with childcare at your church, temple or mosque.
- Visit someone in the hospital or one who has lost their ability to travel – holidays can be especially lonely for them.
- Prepare a meal for a family going through a difficult time.
- Provide a few Christmas gifts for a family who may be down on their luck.
According to worldatlas.com, Indonesia recently moved into the No. 1 position as the most generous nation on Earth. I found this interesting, as I know that the U.S. has some heavy hitters when it comes to monetary giving. This past year, Bill Gates gave $34 billion to his foundation! The study measured not only the total dollars given, but also compared the wealth per citizen and was weighted for the amount of time people devoted to giving. Fifty-three percent of Indonesians give of their time to charitable causes.
We all have the opportunity to share according to our abilities. I hope this encourages you to take a second and jot down a few ways that you can be intentional about giving this Christmas. Dorothy Day summed it up best when she said, “The best thing to do with the best things in life is to give them away.” God Bless you all and to those who celebrate it, a very Merry Christmas!
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