GIVE! A Condition of the Heart – Guest post by N.A. Winter
Haven’t our GIVE! stories been great? I know I’ve needed this dose of inspiration and perspective this Christmas.
Today’s story is from Natalie Winter and it’s simply lovely. I encourage you to recapture the delight of giving this year!
My dad loved Christmas. There wasn’t one thing about it that didn’t thrill him. From getting up early on Black Friday, to waiting expectantly for us to come downstairs on Christmas morning, he loved the festivities, the celebration and the opportunity to spend time with family. It was only after he passed away that it occurred to me that perhaps part of the reason he loved the day so much was that it was also my mom’s birthday. So for him, he got to celebrate the two greatest joys in his life all on the same day.
Another reason that my dad loved Christmas so much is that if there was ever anyone whose loving language was giving gifts, it was my dad. He plotted for months on how he would demonstrate his affection through the perfect present. One Christmas when we were younger, my mom and he had decided to get my sister and I new bikes. That was until on Christmas Eve when we were looking through a catalog and saw a pint-size train set that a little kid could actually ride. It didn’t matter that the bikes were already purchased, my dad went out and got the train and spent all night assembling it, so that the next day he could see the wonderment and surprise on his little girls’ faces As we got older, the gift-giving joy continued, as he would seek to find new and creative ways to delight us. Whether that meant writing us a riddle that would lead us to an undiscovered check, or hiding a present for us to find later, he would consistently look for new opportunities to bring a smile to our faces. Even when he was out of a job, he would sacrifice and save so that he could bless us. And we quickly learned that it wasn’t the cost of the gift that mattered, what mattered was how much the gift would mean to us – and that exponentially increased the delight that he had in giving it. My dad, the man who could barely think of anything to write down on his wish list, would spend time, energy and money in trying to make everyone else’s wishes come true.
As I look back at all the Christmases and birthdays where he worked so hard to thrill us, the greatest gift he gave me was this:
He demonstrated the delight in giving.
He showed me that being a cheerful giver isn’t a function of how much you have, but it’s a condition of the heart. Despite all the effort he put in finding and purchasing the perfect present, the greatest gift he gave wasn’t something that could be bought.
The greatest gift I was ever given was in learning what it meant to give.
N.A. Winter is the author of Better Things Ahead. You can also find her on Twitter. She enjoys teaching her college students, hanging out with her husband and discovering new ways to fulfill her desire to live a simple life of worship.