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.

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  • Pingback: A Condition of the Heart | Better Things Ahead December 22, 2010  
  • Cheri Clark December 22, 2010  

    As usual your insight astonishes me. Great job!

    • N.A. Winter December 22, 2010  

      Thanks so much for your kind words. I appreciate them.

  • Charity December 22, 2010  

    Beautiful tribute, Natalie. I know this to be true of your dad. And I’d say you’ve learned from him quite well the joy of giving. Merry Christmas!

    • N.A. Winter December 22, 2010  

      Thanks so much my friend! Merry Christmas to you!

  • Gini williams December 22, 2010  

    Such precious moments to remember! Thanks for sharing! This Natalie girl is amazing!

    • N.A. Winter December 22, 2010  

      So blessed to have so many wonderful memories to share. 🙂 Thanks for commenting!

  • Trish Bergen December 22, 2010  

    Natalie, your words are such a gift to me! Thank you!

    • N.A. Winter December 22, 2010  

      Ah! Thanks so much!

      May your Christmas be filled with good things!

  • Cherie gilbert December 22, 2010  

    What an inspirational piece! Your dads life continued to touch others for the lord thru your gifted writing Natalie

    • N.A. Winter December 22, 2010  

      Thanks so much Mrs. Gilbert. I’m so blessed to have such a great dad to write about. And I think he loves that even from heaven, his life is showing people Christ.

  • Laura Staph December 22, 2010  

    Natalie, reading this brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. Your fathers legacy is continued thru your words.

    • N.A. Winter December 22, 2010  

      My dad always loved to make people happy. I’m so glad that these words about him accomplished that. 🙂

      Have a blessed Christmas!

  • Grant Jenkins December 22, 2010  

    This was beautiful, Natalie. Thank you for sharing it.

    • N.A. Winter December 22, 2010  

      Thanks so much, Grant. That means a lot. And thanks for sharing your story yesterday!

  • jackie ayers December 22, 2010  

    Thank you, Natalie, for sharing your gift of writing. The insights your Lord gives you are a blessing you generously share with your readers. Merry Christmas to you and the fam.

    • N.A. Winter December 22, 2010  

      Thank you so much! Merry Christmas to you and yours as well!

  • Debbie Wilemon December 22, 2010  

    Everything you write is a blessing to my ears. You have a gift of writing and communicating a message so very well. Thanks again for your time and talents.

    • N.A. Winter December 22, 2010  

      Thank you sweet friend! I’m so grateful for you and how you invest the talents God has given you to not only care for your family, but so many other people as well!

  • Aldee December 22, 2010  

    Great blog post! Tis the season to give… thanks for sharing!!

    • N.A. Winter December 22, 2010  

      Thank you! That is so very nice of you!