Commentary: You can experience greater joy by giving than receiving at Christmas
When I was younger, I always associated Christmas with two things – Santa and presents. Now that I am 20 years old, I still associate Christmas with two things. That’s right – presents and the people who give me presents.
Why do I do this? I don’t know. Maybe because I am just like any other human being who likes to receive, receive and receive until I am blue in the face. Let’s face it, we are all guilty of greed and the desire to receive.
However, I am thoroughly convinced that, as humans, we are actually designed to enjoy giving more than receiving. Call me crazy, but I think that when you give, it changes you like nothing else.
I will never forget my favorite Christmas memory. No, it was not the morning I came down to see my pink motor scooter sitting under the tree or the Christmas I opened up a box to discover my first iPhone – it was actually a night spent in one of the neediest parts of my hometown of Charlotte with a family I didn’t even know.
That year, my church decided to partner with an organization that delivered Christmas gifts to poor single mothers and their children for Christmas.
On Christmas Eve, my church drove into the darkest and most impoverished part of town to go deliver our gifts and celebrate with these families. I remember gazing out my window at each house with feelings of uneasiness.
Of course, this was one Christmas Eve in Charlotte that was particularly cold, so my little third grade self, of course, began to complain and started thinking about being at home by the warm fire place watching a Christmas movie.
However, everything changed the moment I was at the door to the house and the women and their children gazed in awe at the sight of all of us. Everything changed when I was amidst the glow of genuine smiles that exuded from the sweet faces of the mothers who had probably never spent a Christmas Eve with this many people before in their lives.
When it came time to give them the gifts, we brought three hilarious men from my church dressed up as wise men to do the delivery.
I don’t really think I have seen such an authentic joy than through the laughter and even the tears of those women as each of them and their children received their gifts.
The night concluded with the singing of Christmas carols. I will never forget the moment that all of our voices came together as one as we echoed Silent Night down the street, and we all raised our candles in the air to paint the night sky.
It was in that moment that I realized what I had just been a part of. I was able to help make someone’s Christmas special. I was able to put a smile on someone’s face who had nothing, and let me tell you, there has never been a greater