A friend once told me that a gift is not truly received until it has been acknowledged. The wisdom that she was imparting to me implied that appreciation holds a deeper meaning if expressed some time after the giving. Most people, of course, would likely say “Thank you” when given a gift, but how does a giver really know if his or her gift is truly appreciated, or if the gift has touched someone’s life, until a certain amount of time has passed? Some people give gifts that impact people’s lives in a very positive way, but they never know because they are never told.
Many years ago I gave Christmas gifts that included a homemade greeting card with a separate prayer poem inside, each friend receiving a different prayer. I thought this was a unique and thoughtful gift idea, but I never knew if my friends appreciated this part of my gift because no one ever acknowledged it. One of my friends was an elderly neighbour who had many fears about living alone in her house. So I included in her card “A Prayer for Living Alone” which I found on the internet. Years later, she eventually became ill and passed on. A few days before the memorial service, her daughter told me that the poem I gave her mother long ago was being included on the funeral program. At first I did not remember what she was referring to, but then she told me that her mother kept my prayer poem because it meant so much to her. She evidently read it every day as part of her morning inspiration. I had no idea how my gift impacted my dear friend’s life until that moment.
At this time of year, there is a lot of giving going on. Besides the presents for under the tree, there are dinner invitations, social hours, offers to drive to parties, etc. How do we acknowledge the kindness bestowed upon us? Do we phone our friends the next day and say “Hey, thanks for the lift last night” or “That was such a lovely meal yesterday; you’re such a wonderful cook” or “I really appreciate the time you took to come over and shovel off my sidewalk”, etc. And how does it make us feel when we hear such acknowledgment? How many of us wonder for days if our generosity was appreciated at all or what people thought of our Christmas presents because those receiving are not mindful of our desire to know? My friend who spoke these wise words was trying to tell me that there is something incomplete in the giving if the gift is not acknowledged in this manner.
To understand the spiritual concept of giving, I recently asked my angels for their advice on this topic. Here is an excerpt from my journal entry:
Angels, what is your take on gifting?
Two-way communication and dialogue.
What do you mean exactly?
Gifting is two-way – the energy of communication. Communication can be in words, gestures, looks with the eyes, physical activity, and gifts as you know them. But what most humans have long forgotten is that any act of love is a gift, whether it be a physical gift as at Christmas time or a non-physical gift as in acts of kindness at any time of the year. We say, celebrate the gift of love all year round. Why do you wait until this time of year – because of ritual and tradition? How many of your gifts in the coming few days will be truly given in love? How many will be given in relief that everything got done before the big day? Is this love? Is this in the spirit of giving? And despite how all the gifts will be given in terms of the energy behind the giving, how many of those gifts will be acknowledged for the giving, not for the gifted item in itself?
What’s important is the spirit of giving, not the gift. Even if the gift is not something you want or need, appreciate the giving behind the gift. Appreciate the person who gave you the gift, for to not do this is to lose the true spirit of Christmas, the birth of Jesus. Will you be celebrating that in a few days or all the wonderful decorations that you are proud of, or the delicious food that you have prepared, or all the gifts that Santa left under the tree, or all the greeting cards on your mantle? What are you telling your children with this kind of Christmas celebration? Ask your children now what Christmas means to them and see if you taught them well as to the true meaning of Christ-mas.
(pause) Have we spoiled your fun with a sober reminder of what you are celebrating? (pause) Love, children. Whatever you do at this time of year and always, love. Love who you are and give and receive your gifts from a loving heart. This is how your Christ wants you to remember him – as a symbol of love.
And what will you do with all the gifted items that you do not want and will not use? Will you put them on a shelf of unused things or in a box in the basement? Will you hoard all your useless things, or will you find someone who could use what you can’t use? And what will be your energy behind passing on these so-called “used gifts” if you haven’t actually used them yet – one of guilt and embarrassment if the receiver ever found out that the gift was given to you, or one of gratefulness that you found someone who will appreciate the gift as you appreciate the original giving?
Your aboriginal people on Earth understand well this spirit of giving, as it is considered an honor to receive a gift that can be passed on to another. Can you now understand how this way of gifting creates a flow of the energy of abundance and not create stagnant energy by hoarding gifts in a box or chaotic energy from the worry of what to do with them or where to put them?
A gift is a symbol of love, and love made manifest is from heart to heart. Please do not forget this as you celebrate your Christmas.
Thank you for this inspiration and for giving me the words I was looking for in my blog post.
We do this together – always. You are not alone as you think. That is our loving gift to you. Your passing along our loving words about giving gifts is your way of showing appreciation for what was given to you. So you see, not only physical gifts can be passed on in love but also spoken and written words. Remember this, and think of all acts of kindness as gifts to be acknowledged and passed on.
Thank you again.
You are most welcome.
Just as I thinking about what words I could use to finish this post, another friend sent me an email which including the following words. I have protected names with initials.
“I had a nice surprise this morning. DM came with a “Pot of Gold” and thanked me so much for the lovely turkey dinner. He enjoyed it very much. It was special to him as his mom used to do this every Christmas – inviting bachelors for a turkey dinner. He started reminiscing when he was here and told me that the village is not the same anymore after most of the older generation passed away in the meantime. That’s kind of him to show his appreciation.”
Thank you, MC, for saying those words of wisdom to me many years ago. It truly was a gift that has never been forgotten, only not acknowledged until this moment as you read this post.