The Sweetest Things


  The most beautiful gift that anyone didn’t lay in my hands…was the most wonderful gift I have ever known.

  This tends to be the season for gift giving. The stores are mobbed with last minute shoppers looking for the greatest gift ever. You will find sales papers and inserts, in the retail industries attempt to bring up sales for the end of the year. The internet will display online only bargains. Not surprisingly, these sales will contain the very thing…which most of the time…you never even knew that you wanted. There will be boxes and gift bags topped with ribbons and bows of bright red, gold and green. I have to admit, I love giving gifts also, and it gives me a feeling of warmth.

  But I have recently started trying to do fewer gifts which lean on the monetary side…and instead give gifts from the heart. Tangible presents can be exciting, that video game that everyone is talking about, the newest DVD that was just released, the perfect diamond ring that says I love you. Don’t get me wrong, those are great gifts; but I am more impressed with the gifts that come from the heart. They can still be tangible…something that we can have or hold…but they are presents that are more personable.

  For instance, this year I am giving I love you journals to the most important people in my life. Yes, I actually purchased the blank journals. However, I am filling all the pages with words that come from my heart. I am expressing my gratitude, love and appreciation through my words. I am even going as far as to handwrite my thoughts to them. Now, of course, this isn’t something that I would do for everyone…writing everyday in more than 2 journals and keep up with my daily writing…would be quite a task. But through these journal pages I hope that they will find the treasures that can not be bought. I am translating the language of my heart onto journal entries…and hopefully, in the years to come…they will reflect on what I wrote and remember this moment in time when they were important enough in my life to take this effort for.

  There are other things that we do, at my house to express how special people are to us. For instance, we will make cookies and candy and send them out to our loved ones. It’s our way of giving a part of ourselves to those that we hold so dear. Again, these are tangible…but the effort put into each gift, makes them priceless.

  Wal-Mart and Target will not be putting love, affection, or friendship on a sale rack this year. They will not offer tenderness, devotion, or kindness at an auction on EBay. We will not be able to Google the business address for joy, happiness, or delight. There will be no website to visit in order to find where or how to express jubilation during this holiday season.

  In order to give the gift that keeps on giving…and is unique every time you give to another person…we only need to seek it within ourselves. We can give the gift of love and life…simply by touching the hearts and minds of others. A homemade card can mean more than anything that Hallmark may have to offer. It is amazing how a little glitter and paint can warm a soul.

  This year I am asking all my friends and loved ones to give the gift of self. Donate time at a children’s hospital reading Christmas stories, to terminally ill children. Volunteer to work in the local soup kitchen serving dinner to those that have less than we do. Offer to babysit for a neighbor so that they can spend some time on themselves; shovel the sidewalk of an elderly person…just for the joy of doing it. Go out with a bunch of friends singing Christmas Carols in your neighborhood…and watch your gifts multiply.

  The best gifts given are those we give of ourselves. We can give our time or energy…and that investment will spread like a wild fire. When we give from our souls and not our wallets…we are giving a part of ourselves. We are touching the hearts of people who probably have forgotten how very special that they truly are. We should start reminding people that the most valuable offering we can give…is the gift of God’s undeniable love for us. Visiting with the elderly or disabled at a nursing home, can be more important than any diamond necklace ever would be.

  This year give compassion and watch it grow. The sweetest things in life do not cost anymore than a smile or a hug. Love is endless…eternal…and infinite, but it cannot be bought or bartered. Give the gift that gives back…the radiance of God’s unwavering love.