Years ago, I was reading the engraving inside of a beautiful antique pocket watch. It read: “To my darling husband, your loving wife and children.” The engraved year was dated in the late 1800s. Immediately I envisioned that scene so long ago. When the wife gave that stopwatch she was giving a piece of her heart.
The meaning behind the gift is a timeless treasure.
Though this family was now a ghost of a portrait past, I could almost see them in their intimate, loving celebration, over one hundred years ago. The stopwatch is beautiful. But it isn’t the stopwatch I still mull over more than a century after the original gift was given. It’s the impression and feeling I have about what occurred between this now departed couple.
A gift where more than just a gift was given.
It fills me with warmth. That warmth was intended for the husband. And yet, I am a recipient and witness to that love long after that event ended. Perhaps that is what is meant by a timeless treasure. Or endless love. Love transpires, transcends, and changes people. If people live within their means, enjoy Christmas within their means, give gifts within their means, they and their loved ones can enjoy the season without breaking the bank. Going into debt. Creating unnecessary pressure and burdens.
I remember one young lady who once shared that it would take eight months post Christmas to pay off her high interest Christmas spending debt. It may have been a whopper of a gift, but the extra work hours were going to take her away from her family and reduce time and other resources that could have been spent with or on her family.
I prefer to live within my means.
I would take the momentary discomfort of offering a quaint but smaller gift I could afford over one I had to slave eight months over to pay off any day. That causes stress. And we all know what stress entails not to mention does to one’s body, mind and soul. The price is just too steep. Gifts need not come at a high expense, or price tag for that matter.
When you give with love, you give love. That is a gift all in itself.
If you give it with a genuine smile, you cloak the receiver in warmth. If you give it with an appropriate welcomed hug, you’ve emboldened the recipient with a stronger sense of self. It could be a wilting group of handpicked flowers. Perhaps an iced gingerbread cookie that breaks in two on the way over to my house. I can appreciate larger gifts, too. But if I enjoy the company and love that comes with a gift, I’ll carry that impression with me into the future…savoring it.
No matter how limited a person’s resources are, almost any gift can be done in a manner that invokes the spirit of Christmas and impacts the life of the recipient for life.
This is analogous to the birth of Christ and the transformative life we can receive, for which this season commemorates. It’s a living power. Love is forever. Its effects are long lasting. It leaves tangible results though love itself is intangible. It takes a gift, regardless of great or humble means, and transforms it into an illuminating personal exchange between the giver and receiver.
So be good to yourself.
Realize you can experience Christmas and enjoy giving without the dread of overspending, by setting proper financial limits, and wrapping the entire process from beginning to end in the transformative power of love, impacting the recipients because of the manner in which you give which includes giving away a part of you. It will be a gift that transcends time. It will be a gift living in accord with inner integrity.
Stephanie Stevens is the creator of a still developing website HealTheVeteran.com for which she will be working to move forward in the coming year in 2014. The focus will be on providing a science-based roadmap for restoring the health of our sickest veterans using methods outside the box for reasons which will be explained. http://healtheveteran.com/