So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. II Corinthians 9:7
Hands waving from every window of the car, the last of our family headed for home after a long Thanksgiving weekend… and we checked our watches. If we hurried, we could make it in time to see my husband’s NJROTC cadets present the colors for the singing of the national anthem at the Christmas parade.
Lining the street, children held green, red, and white helium balloons for release as the parade began. Eager anticipation reached its peak as “…and the home of the brave” was sung and erupted in yelps of excitement as the colors of Christmas filled the air.
My attention was drawn to a little girl sitting with her mother on the curb. She was about three years old, adorable in her Christmas outfit, and absolutely bent on hanging on to her green balloon. Her mother’s gentle promptings were responded to with a definite, “No!” Nothing would persuade her and, in the end, her tiny fingers were pried loose from the string as her mother pointed skyward exclaiming, “Look. There goes your balloon with all the other boys’ and girls’ balloons.”
How does a child learn it is more blessed to give than to receive? I believe the answer is in modeling the actions of people we respect and admire who give from the heart, not grudgingly or out of a sense of pressured duty.
We learn to give from the stories of the Bible, like the widow who gave her last coin to the poor, the Good Samaritan providing for a stranger, and the most amazing story of all…the Christmas story. God loved us so much He gave us heaven’s best, Jesus, along with the gift of eternal life when we believe in Him.
I tend, like my little friend on the curb, to hold tightly to what I have been given or feel I have earned. I resist, even resent, the overwhelming seasonal pleas for my time and money.
Are you finding it hard to be a cheerful giver this year? Instead of stressing, choose to pray for wisdom, hold loosely what has been given to you, and then be blessed as a joyful giver.
Penny Hunt, a.k.a. “The Bloom Lady,” is the wife of a career Naval Officer/Attaché and mother of five. Through her Blooming Where You Are Planted talks, seminars, and writing, she encourages and equips people from all walks of life in navigating the choppy waters of change. Penny is the author of an Amazon.com bestselling children’s book, Little White Squirrel’s Secret. She is the Faith Columnist for the Citizen News of Edgefield County, SC, and a popular speaker with a motivational, humorous message. An active member of her church and community, Penny resides in the rural peach-growing region of South Carolina. Contact Penny at: email@example.com.