Column: Don’t lose the spirit of Christmas giving this holiday season


As Christmas approaches, I am reminded of a time that my family was on the receiving end of generosity.

Several years ago, in the midst of a discussion that was likely approaching an argument about Christmas presents, our budget and accumulating debt, Shannon and I pulled into one of the two full-service gas stations in town.

We were about to drop our last $20 into the gas tank of our van so we could try to make it through the week. Meanwhile, we were not sure how we could afford our trip to the annual family Christmas party downstate, groceries or the host of other expenses families encounter each week.

We sat there discussing what could be done to improve our situation, completely unaware of an action that would warm our souls.

The pump stopped and I reached into my pocket to get the money as the attendant approached my window, when something happened that forever changed me — we were told someone had paid for our gas.

To some the action might not have been a life-changing act of kindness, but to us it was. It wasn’t a large sum of money or a cart full of groceries, but to us the action was akin to winning the lottery and immediately sent us into tears of joy.

This act of generosity occurred at the exact right moment and made a profound influence on what the holidays truly mean to me. It was in that moment that I realized the smallest moments can make the biggest impact.

I will never know who it was that did this, but I always wished they knew how much they enriched our lives by teaching the importance of true generosity.

We weren’t on this person’s annual list of gift recipients; they did not have time to mull over the action; perhaps they even surprised themselves. But the generosity of their heart was such that they reached out in spontaneity to strangers, not expecting anything in return. I hope we all may be so ready to give, when the opportunity arises.


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