In this “Thought for Today” email, Sri Easwaran share his ideas about a “real gift” and the practice of gift giving (exchange?) at Christmas time. One should keep in mind these ideas when considering gift giving on any occasion.
They do much who love God much, and they do much who do their deed well, and they do their deed well who do it rather for the common good than for their own will.
– THOMAS A KEMPIS
We needn’t rule out the exchange of useful, thoughtful gifts at Christmas, but when we expect something in return, it is not a gift but a contract. Using this strict definition, we might wonder if all of those packages under the Christmas tree are really gifts.
Rather than giving expensive, perhaps not really useful gifts, there are so many more meaningful things that all of us can give. If you have been a smoker, you can give it up – not as an act of self-denial, but as a loving gift to your family. It will be a most precious, most treasured gift. If you have been drinking heavily, you can give up alcohol as an act of love. It is a gift that will keep on giving. If you have been overeating, you can start eating nutritious food in temperate quantities, and exercising regularly. It’s a beautiful gift for everybody in the family. These are real gifts.