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A Season for Giving
Every season is a season for giving....
Every season is a season for giving, and every season is a season to be thankful. Charity and gratitude seem to nurture each other. But there is this certain time of year when we feel these things most keenly. There is a prelude to this season, a special day of giving thanks which we call Thanksgiving Day. On this day, we get together in cheer and joy with good company to share blessings and gratitude, and the more blessings we give and receive, and the more thankful we are, the more we seem to find to be thankful about.
It is something like when the man from Galilee took a few loaves of bread, gave thanks and broke the bread, and, along with a few pieces of fish, passed the pieces into quite a large crowd. And somehow this small meal produced many baskets full of leftover pieces, quite a bit more than what he began with. So we too break bread and give thanks and find that we also have much leftover - leftover cheer and leftover joy, and we see the power of giving thanks, and of giving, as we increase the cheer and joy in this and any other season.
A very fine gift indeed....
There was a man we call the Baptist. He baptized with water many who had repented, for the forgiveness of their sins. Through this forgiveness, they gained the knowledge of salvation, the knowledge of healing and freedom received when they repented and were forgiven. We too have been forgiven; we feel the healing and the freedom of salvation, and just like those few small loaves of bread, this knowledge of salvation increases greatly when we forgive and when we live with a forgiving nature. Forgiveness is an important, but sometimes overlooked, part of this giving season, a very fine gift indeed to receive and to give. And let us not forget about repentance, and that it is more than being sorrowful and regretful for our past wrongs and misdeeds; it is about changing our ways, beginning a new life. Yes, it is all about change.
We receive the gift of story....
It is the season for giving. It is during this season that, over the years, we have received the gift of story from the saints of storytelling.
We have been told the tale of the green creature-like man with the too tight shoes and the too small heart, who on one Christmas eve, donned a suit of red and entered the nearby village and stole everything that had anything to do with the holiday to come, the celebration of which had annoyed him for many a year. With all these things, the gifts, the decorations, and even the food for the feasts, he made his way up his mountain and waited for the deep disappointment of the villagers when they realized that the holiday that was soon to arrive, would not. But it was to his own disappointment that Christmas did indeed arrive even without all that beloved stuff, and the power and the spirit of that holy day, as well as the power in the immense joy of the villagers, was something that even he could not resist, and like those small loaves of bread, the size of his heart was greatly multiplied. He returned to the villagers all their holiday things and joined them in their celebrations, ever increasing the spirit of the day.
His now large heart was filled with joy.
There is also the tale of that unkind, miserly, and sometimes cruel man who was as much a self sworn enemy of Christmas and all that it stood for than anybody could possibly be, the celebration of which had annoyed him for many a year. Then came that one Christmas eve when he found himself host to a few ghosts, beginning with the one of his former business partner who had come to warn him to change his ways, introducing him to a trio of spirits who would help him do so. This mean old man was taken to the Christmases of his own past and saw that he was not always so miserable at this time of the year. He was then taken to the present Christmas to witness all the cheer and joy that he was missing and had been missing. He was shown a scary future Christmas and it was not made clear to him whether this was a definite future or a possible future. He awoke to beautiful Christmas morning a profoundly changed man, becoming a hero of this holy day. He became as kind as anyone, sharing in their merrymaking, and he used his prosperity to help others, and again like the breaking of the bread, his prosperity could only increase the more he gave, and the more he was thankful for all that had occurred. He began his new life with a hearty laugh.
And his heart was filled with joy.
A very special transformation....
We read the stories and we watch the films - and there are many more, and our hearts are filled with joy. Yet there is another transformation about to take place, an incarnation, when the power and the spirit becomes flesh and bones, when the power and the spirit becomes a reality in the world. We await the celebration of the birth of the Savior. Like the baptizer, he forgives. He forgives the sins of the ages and releases us from their bondage. He gives us a deeper knowledge of salvation, a knowledge of healing and freedom and love. He heals many and when he gives thanks and breaks the bread, he feeds many, ourselves included, with his words and with his bread. He gives himself. He does many great things and tells us that we too will do great things. We do great things when we give.
It's all about the children....
The Season For Giving
This is the season for giving, and the greatest of our giving is the giving to the children, and we do this humbly, giving the credit for this giving to that legendary jolly elf, with the merriest of smiles and the heartiest of laughs. Every year he visits us in his bright red suit with his magic sleigh and his sack filled with toys. We see their smiles and our hearts are filled with joy. We do our best to give to those children less fortunate, and we compassionately give and assist the best we can, all who are in need. And above all, we give our love, as our hearts are filled with gladness - joy with gratitude. We are glad to give; we are thankful to give. Giving and receiving blessings, we share the magic and miracles of Christmas time. We remember the lessons of good old Mr. Scrooge and the good old Grinch. We say farewell, until next year, to jolly old Santa Clause. We remember also the lessons of forgiveness of John the Baptist. And most of all we remember Jesus, the Christ child, whose forgiving and healing ways remain with us all the year round. We give thanks and break bread as we increase the love, increase the goodness, and increase the peace.
And our hearts are filled with joy!
© 2013 Paul K Francis