The Joy of Giving

[Remember] this: he who sows sparingly and grudgingly will also reap sparingly and grudgingly, and he who sows generously [that blessings may come to someone] will also reap generously and with blessings.   ~ 2 Corinthians 9:6 


The Santa Claus at the mall was very surprised when a young lady about twenty years old walked up and sat on his lap.

Santa doesn't usually take requests from adults, but she smiled very nicely at him, so he said, "OK, you can ask for something but it has to be for someone other than yourself. What do you want for Christmas?"

"Something for my mother," said the young lady.

"Something for your mother? Well, that's very thoughtful of you," smiled Santa. "What do you want me to bring her? "

Without blinking she replied, "A son-in-law!"

We often say that Christmas is a time when the focus is on giving, but let's be
honest – for many (perhaps most) people, the greater excitement of Christmas is in what we receive, not in what we give. How many people do you know who are saying, "I can't wait to give a gift!"? Now, how many people do you know who are saying, "I can't wait to see what I get!"? As parents, we know the joy of watching our children open their gifts, but are we instilling in our children the joy of giving, or is Christmas simply a time when they are excited to receive what they wanted (or perhaps they're upset because they didn't get what they wanted)?

While trying not to sound too cynical, how many of the gifts we give every Christmas are given because we feel obligated to give, or because we are hoping to receive something back? Is it possible for those of us who are Christ-followers to give simply for the joy of giving?

Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, "If you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?" (Luke 5:46-47). To take it one step further, if we give only to those from whom we expect to receive something back, how are we different from anyone else in the world? What should distinguish God's people is a desire to give with no thought of receiving anything back.

In Luke 14:12-14, Jesus said, "When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just."

May I encourage you, not only this season, but year-round, to seek to find ways to give to those who can't give back, to learn to give simply for the joy of giving.

--By Alan Smith

(Received by e-mail)

Father, we thank you for Your goodness and we thank you for Your love.  But most of all Father, we thank You for the gift of Your Son, Jesus.  Help us to always remember the Reason for the Season and may our lives always project the love and the peace that You represent .  In Thy holy name, Amen.
Stories to Touch the Heart and Warm the Soul:


                                                                          YYES, VIRGINIA... THERE IS A SANTA CLAUS

Dear Editor,

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.  Papa says, "If you see it in The Post, it's so."   Please tell me the truth, Is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O'Hanlon

The answer as published in the New York paper was:


Your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else more real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood..

                                                                   YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE 
Like any good mother, when Karen found out that another baby was on the way, she did what she could to help her 3-year-old son, Michael, prepare for a new sibling.

They found out that the new baby was going be a girl, and day after day, night after night, Michael sang to his sister in mommy's tummy.

He was building a bond of love with his little sister before he even met her.

The pregnancy progressed normally for Karen, an active member of the Panther Creek United Methodist Church in Morristown , Tennessee

In time, the labor pains came. Soon it was every five minutes, every three, every minute. But serious complications arose during delivery and Karen found herself in hours of labor.

Would a C-section be required? Finally, after a long struggle, Michael's little sister was born. But she was in very serious condition.

With a siren howling in the night, the ambulance rushed the infant to the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Mary's Hospital, Knoxville , Tennessee The days inched by... The little girl got worse. The pediatrician had to tell the parents there is very little hope. Be prepared for the worst.

Karen and her husband contacted a local cemetery about a burial plot. They had fixed up a special room in their house for their new baby but now they found themselves having to plan for a funeral. Michael, however, kept begging his parents to let him see his sister. I want to sing to her, he kept saying.

Week two in intensive care looked as if a funeral would come before the week was over.

Michael kept nagging about singing to his sister, but kids are never allowed in Intensive Care. Karen decided to take Michael whether they liked it or not.

If he didn't see his sister right then, he may never see her alive. She dressed him in an oversized scrub suit and marched him into ICU. I looked like a walking laundry basket. The head nurse recognized him as a child and bellowed, 'Get that kid out of here now. No children are allowed' The mother rose up strong in Karen, and the usually mild-mannered lady glared steel-eyed right into the head nurse's face, her lips a firm line 'He is not leaving until he sings to his sister' she stated. Then Karen towed Michael to his sister's bedside.

He gazed at the tiny infant losing the battle to live.

After a moment, he began to sing.

In the pure-hearted voice of a 3-year-old, Michael sang:

'You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray.' Instantly the baby girl seemed to respond. The pulse rate began to calm down and become steady.

'Keep on singing, Michael,' encouraged Karen with tears in her eyes.

'You never know, dear, how much I love you, please don't take my sunshine away.

'As Michael sang to his sister, the baby's ragged, strained breathing became as smooth as a kitten's purr 'Keep on singing sweetheart.'

'The other night, dear, as I lay sleeping, I dreamed I held you in my arms'. Michael's little sister began to relax as rest, healing rest, seemed to sweep over her.

'Keep on singing, Michael.' Tears had now conquered the face of the bossy head nurse. Karen glowed.

'You are my sunshine, my only s unshine. Please don't take my sunshine away.'

The next day, the very next day, the little girl was well enough to go home.

Woman's Day Magazine called it 'The Miracle of a Brother's Song'.

The medical staff just called it a miracle.

Karen called it a miracle of God's love.