Wednesday, 20 December 2017

The Season of Giving . . .


 This is the season of giving. In just a few days now, people will be exchanging gifts with their loved ones and friends held dear. Stores will be racking up record profits, and . . . if they are not, they will be wondering what changes they can make in the year to come, so that next year will be a bumper year filled with profits. Children all over the world are busy tallying up their Christmas lists, and posting them to Santa Claus in hopes that he will take note . . . and bring them what their little heart desires.

My children were no different when they were growing up. They also had Christmas lists, and as parents . . . we tried really hard to get them at least one gift which was on their list every year. Some years it was a much wanted doll or remote controlled truck . . . others it might have been a game or a book. They were never extravagant things. We didn't ever have a lot of money, and they always knew that we had to pay Santa Claus so that the poor families could have presents too. One special gift we did try to give them every year though, wasn't something they could hold or touch. It was the gift of giving.

 We always tried to teach our kids that Christmas was not only about getting . . . it was also very much about giving . . . about sharing all the goodness with which we had been blessed with others who had not been so blessed. Each year we would, as a family, pick another family that we felt were in need. This was not a decision that was undertaken without a great deal of thought. We would spend the month before Christmas taking note of those we felt needed help, and then decide on the one that needed help the most. 

A big box would be gaily wrapped with our finest wrapping paper, and then throughout the month we would gather together gifts of food and trinkets of joy to put into the box. We tried to put in everything that one would need to cook a Christmas Dinner, along with some extra special treats that people enjoy eating during the Christmas Season. There would be a toy for each of the children. Maybe not an expensive toy, but a toy nonetheless. A bit of cheer for a family that might not be feeling alot of cheer at this special time of year. 

 On Christmas Eve, after church, we would bundle the box into our car and then drive close to where the family we had picked for that given year lived. We would park close enough so that we could see, and then we would quietly drop the box on the doorstep of the chosen family , knock on the door, and then hurry away before they could see who had done it. As a family, we felt good being able to do something to help someone in need. In that box was more than just tasty gifts of food, candy and toys . . . in that box was the gift of love . . . but, more important than that, it also held a gift for my children. The gift of giving and of compassion for those less fortunate than ourselves. 

There was one year we had been experiencing a particularly bad year ourselves. My ex husband had gotten yet another transfer, and we'd been forced to sell our home in order that we could be together. We lost quite a large sum of money when we sold the house, as the housing market had taken a huge downturn at the time. We were living in a rented farmhouse out in the countryside surrounding the beautiful Georgian Bay. 

 It was an old and drafty house, it's only source of heat being the old fashioned Mennonite cookstove in the kitchen. Because of the large sum of money we had lost on our house, we'd been forced to declare bankruptcy . . . much to our shame. There was not alot of money to go around, but we did our best to ensure that the children would have the best Christmas that we could give them. It appeared doubtful though, that we would be able to enjoy our annual tradition of giving a box to someone that year. 

A few weeks before Christmas, we got news that a good friend of ours had lost his job, and that their family . . . devastated by this news, was going to have a very bleak Christmas indeed. My children eagerly decided that this family would be the one they would give to this Christmas and they wanted ever so much to put together a box for them. I didn't have the heart to tell them that we, ourselves . . . had very little to give. Into the box went the small turkey I had bought for my own family. All the while I said a little prayer to myself that somehow I could cope. I had a chicken in the freezer that would just have to do for us. We filled that box with all that we could, and went off to deliver it to our friends, annonymously of course. The joy in my children's faces made my heart swell with pride and love for these precious babes of mine that indeed knew and understood the spirit of giving. 

 Afterwards, when we got home, they bundled off to the living room and started to watch a Christmas movie with a big bowl of home-popped corn. I sat at the table in the dark in our dining room, looking out onto the snow that was now falling in big fluffy flakes, and pondering the why's and wherefore's . . . and wondering what else I had that could be rustled in to a Christmas dinner on the morrow. Imagine my surprise when I saw a car struggling up the drive, only to stop in front of our door. It was Rob, a special friend of ours from church, and he strode up to our doorway with a huge box held aloft. 

Inside that box were all the things we needed to produce a Christmas dinner for the family, some extra treats to enjoy, and an envelope containing a card and four crisp twenty dollar bills. Tears of gratitude rolled down my cheeks and I said a silent and humble prayer of thanksgiving. We enjoyed a lovely Christmas that year, and in many ways it was the best Christmas of all. Despite our own need, we had been able to give . . . and in doing so . . . we had received the most precious gift of all in return, that precious gift of giving . . . 

 This truly is the season of giving. Is there someone nearby or that you know is going to be alone, or someone that might need a helping hand? Extend the hand of friendship and love . . . and give. You do not need a lot of money to do so . . . it could be something as simple as a pot of soup, a basket of cookies, or . . . best of all, a few hours of your time. I gurantee you'll receive in return, far more than you could ever hope to give. It's funny how that works . . . and very special indeed . . . You just cannot outgive a giver!!

A thought to carry with you  . . .   

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•。★★ 。* 。
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˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門 ★

“Often the answer to our prayer does not come 
while we’re on our knees but while we’re on our feet 
serving the Lord and serving those around us. 
Selfless acts of service and consecration refine 
our spirits remove the scales from our spiritual eyes 
and open the windows of heaven. 
By becoming the answer to someone’s prayer 
we often find the answer to our own.”
~Dieter F. Uchtdorf  •。★★ 。* 。 


BOOK OF MORMON CORNER - Today's Reading -  2 Nephi 24:1-32 
Question  - What have you learnt from the reading today? What kinds of rest do you think Israel will experience in the millennium?  
My Thoughts - Rest from sorrow. Rest from fear. Rest from bondage. The rest - peace, that comes from being close to the Lord and being filled with His love. I feel it at times now but in the millennium it will be constant. I like this analogy I read today,  "When I thought of rest, making bread came into my mind. After mixing, I let my dough rest for a few minutes. The dough still changes during this time without all the harsh kneading. I think that is what it will be like in the Millennium. We will be changing and growing without all the harshness of today's world." I look forward to this!
I also really, really love this quote from 'Our search for happiness' by M Russell Ballard. His grandfather had a spiritual manifestation and this is what he recorded: "I was told there was a [great] privilege that was to be mine...I was led to a room where I was informed I was to meet someone. As I entered the room I saw, seated on a raised platform, the most glorious being I have ever conceived of, and was taken forward to be introduced to Him. As I approached He smiled, called my name, and stretched out His hands towards me. If I live to be a million years old I shall never forget that smile. He put His arms around me and kissed me, as He took me into His bosom, and He blessed me until my whole being was thrilled. As He finished I fell at His feet, and there saw the marks of the nails; and as I kissed them, with deep joy swelling through my whole being, I felt I was in heaven indeed. The feeling that came into my heart then was: Oh! If I could live worthy, though it would require four-score years, so that in the end when I finished I could go into His presence, I would give everything that I am and ever hope to be! I know- as I know that I live- that He lives. That is my testimony." I don't know if anyone needed to read this today, but I needed to write it. It's good for the soul to remember there will be an end to all the burdens and cares of this world. I know that when the Saviour comes we will rest because we will know Him. His ways will be clear and our eyes will be wide open to them. Satan and his worldly counterfeits of light and happiness will be repulsive to us, they will hold no comparison to the true Son of God.  
Tomorrow's Reading (Day 62) -  2 Nephi 25:1-13 
Question - What have you learnt from the reading today? How would you explain our gospel in plainness to help a child or investigator understand our beliefs? 
In The English Kitchen today  . . .  Cinnamon Fans!  Very moreish.  Your family is sure to love these!
Have a wonderful Wednesday!  We shall be getting our car back today. It needed a new starter motor.  That really kicked our pocket book for sure, but it is the difference between having no car or having a car that we desperately need. No choice really!  I will be calling my mom this afternoon. My grocery order is supposed to be delivered later this morning. So it will be a busy day, but a good day.  Don't forget along the length and breadth of your own day . . .  
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And I do too!  


  1. What a heartwarming story..

    Oh well things have changed a lot..but daughter and the company she works for spent $ Costco and Maxi..the day before yesterday..making baskets this week and delivering in her boss's old neighbourhood..
    Loved that:)

    One of my cars needed a starter once too..not at a good there ever a good time? Not..happy you don't need a new car:)

    Enjoy your nesting plate is in my beautiful book..sent you an email:)

  2. It was a beautiful story and one I'm sure will never be forgotten. What you give always comes back they say.

  3. What a beautiful story, Marie. You made me cry.

  4. That is so wonderful MOnique. It is such a nice thing to read that the Christmas spirit is alive and well! You are right, there is never a right thing for these things to happen. We are blessed that we were able to get it fixed. Like I say, God is indeed very good! xoxo

    Thanks Sandy! Love and hugs and Happy Christmas wishes to you! xoxo

  5. Thanks Pam, they do say that! Love and hugs and Happy Christmas to you and yours! xoxo

  6. What a great story that was Marie! It brought tears to my eyes!

    Yay so glad your car is back on the road!

    Love and big hugs!xo

  7. Love and Hugs Jan! We are over the moon about that as well! xoxo


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