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Marriage and Family

Some Thoughts for Grownups

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12/01/2012 - Warning: Due to content, the following article is not recommended for younger readers. Parents, please use discretion before allowing younger children to view its contents.

I had to include this disclaimer due to the fact that the subject of this article has to do with a topic that begins with "S." Now that the younger children are safely out of the room, let us talk about Santa.

With Christmas fast approaching, many of us are scrambling to get gifts for our family. Not only can this season be stressful because of the financial strain, but also because we often want to find just the right gift. We enjoy seeing our loved ones' excitement about the thoughtful present we give.

When we give during Christmas, how selfless is it? We love to see that our loved ones enjoy the gift; this brings most of us pleasure. We appreciate being thanked or having our thoughtfulness acknowledged. We still gain a return from that. If Santa existed, what would be his motive? He would not see the enjoyment from the children, or be thanked. In fact, the only time he is even acknowledged is this time of year when kids want something from him. But yet, he continuously, year after year, selflessly gives for no other reason than to express his love for kids.

Maybe we can learn from this attitude, and apply this year round. In so many of our relationships, we tend to take an "I'll rub your back if you rub mine" attitude. We are willing to express our love in various ways to friends and family as long as they seem to give that in return. But what if we are feeling rejected? What if we feel as if our loved ones are distancing from us? For many of us, our immediate reaction is to become angry. Maybe we decide to pursue harder and express our love in more dramatic ways. If that still doesn't work we may start to withdraw and/or become angry.

Notice, that within this dynamic, our giving is out of a motive. We want something in return; even if it is only acknowledgement. We seldom think deeply on our motives of giving but they are clearly revealed when we don't get the desired response.

Let us adopt the attitude of Santa. Let us focus on giving solely for the desire of giving. If we don't get our back rubbed in return, let us be okay with that and continue to serve and give. True giving that comes from a heart of love looks for no return. True giving that comes from love seeks only to please, not to be pleased. True love is sacrificial. True love's sole aim is to build another up towards a healthy life.

This Christmas season, try to find one avenue to express love selflessly. Be a nameless and faceless donation to a charity. Find someone in need and give with the intent to disappear so that credit and acknowledgment cannot be given. If you are resentful or bitter at a former friend or family member, go against the grain and express love, even if you will only get spite in return. Santa is not real, but don't let his example be just as fictitious. Selfless love is what Christmas is about! Imagine our world if we made selfless love an everyday reality. Merry Christmas.


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