Sunday, December 18, 2022

More Blessed to Give Than to Receive

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To my six-year-old mind, it was a marvel of the dawning space age.  Just by turning a couple of knobs I could create pictures on a gray screen and even write my name—then magically erase it with a shake of the device.  An Etch-a-Sketch.  And I had asked Santa for one for Christmas.

That Christmas stands out in my memory because it was when I learned the truth about Santa Claus, thanks to some careless concealment of the Etch-a-Sketch.  You see, my bedroom was really a multi-purpose room.  Our house, with six people residing there, was very small; so I shared a room with my brother…and an ironing board with other household accessories…and a towering piece of furniture with drawers and a place to hang clothes that had been converted to a catch-all for miscellaneous out-of-season family clothing.  And it was in that space that someone in my family hid the Etch-a-Sketch, waiting until Christmas Eve to put it under the tree.  So my coveted toy was literally six feet away from my dreaming head each night.  Until I innocently went digging in the clothes pile one day and put two and two together to discover who Santa really was.

The story of my discovering another Christmas truth—that it is better to give than to receive—is not so easily traced.  I didn’t grasp it as a six-year-old, maybe not as a twelve-year-old.  But I think at fourteen, as my mother lay dying at Christmastime and I tried to think of an appropriate gift for her, it began to dawn on me.  She never got to use what I bought her for Christmas that year, and my giving it brought me no joy, although there were plenty of other reasons to be sad that holiday.  But I realized then that the people I love will not necessarily always be around, that their lives may be full of pain and secret angst, and who am I to expect something from them?  Shouldn’t I be doing what I can to make them happier?

I like to read and talk and write about money.  I like to help people manage their money and live more comfortably.  That’s why I write this blog, do volunteer work, and have a ministry devoted to it.  But money is not everything or even the main thing in life.  It can sure make life easier sometimes, but it can just as easily bring misery.  But giving to others, helping others…I’ve never known that to not pay handsome dividends.  Remember that this Christmas.

Merry Christmas, friends.

Until next time,


“Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress….The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned….For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government shall be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:1,2,6 NIV*

*Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™  Used by permission.  All rights reserved worldwide.