Giving Joyfully During This Wonderful Time of Year

Children often associate the Holiday Season with getting gifts. As adults, we know this season is about much more than that – this is the season to give as well…JOYFULLY. First, I feel the need to define “joyful” and “give” and will do so with the help of, which defines joyful as: full of joy, as a person or one’s heart; glad; delighted;showing or expressing joy, as looks, actions, or speech; causing or bringing joy, as an event, a sight, or news; delightful; and give as: to present voluntarily and without expecting compensation. Therefore, joyful giving would be gladly and happily presenting anything (tangible or intangible) without expecting anything in return. As you can see, anyone can give joyfully in their own way regardless of life circumstances.

I should also clarify that this post isn’t meant to make you feel guilty for not doing enough and my suggestions for joyful giving aren’t meant to make you feel like your expressions of joyful giving aren’t right or “good enough.” Hopefully, this post will be an encouragement to you if you are indeed giving joyfully and will give you fresh ideas if your giving is starting to lack the jopyful aspect.

My husband and I give joyfully by supporting a child through Compassion International. Our child is from Kenya and her name is Catherine. We give financially and we also give of our time and emotions by writing her letters of encouragement. This particular type of giving is very rewarding. We get to hear about her life and family in her letters she sends back. Sometimes, she shares with us what she did with the money we gave her that month and how it was of great help to her family in their time of need.
Another way to give of your time is to serve at local missions or food pantries. This is really easy to do. If you are like us, you probably even receive information in your mailbox around this time of year! Many missions or food pantries send out information on how you can serve with them during the holidays. The great part about that is if you are unable to give of your time, there is usually an option to give financially.You can also find ways to serve through your local church. Our church has a “giving catalog” that comes out around Christmas. The catalog is full of needs around the city and you just pick which ones you are able to fulfill.

If you prefer to serve on your own, rather than in a organized fashion, I’m sure you have neighbors who would benefit from some cleaning up this time of year. It may be more difficult for your elderly or disabled neighbors to do winter chores. You could offer to help them shovel snow or complete basic handyman projects around their house – inside and out.

BakingIf you like to bake, or are already baking for other events or parties, throw in some extra batter and bake some cookies for your neighbors, co-workers, mailman, trashmen, etc. Everyone loves a special, surprise treat!

And finally, my favorite way of all to give joyfully (teasing of course, but I do like this option and would appreciate being on the receiving end for sure!!)…..adopt your favorite gluten free friend for a meal or dessert (if you don’t bake, Udi’s gluten free Snickerdoodle Cookies are an amazing GF treat!!). After I had my daughter, it was such a blessing to have prepared meals brought to our house by friends. I know it must have been difficult for them because of my Celiac Sprue and special gluten free diet requirements, but they still did it and it meant the world to us….even more so, because they were willing to go to the extra trouble for me. I can guarantee your GF friend will especially love it this time of year. Baking and eating are large parts of this holiday season and often times, the GF eater is left sucking on a candy cane while watching their friends enjoy yummy baked goods. Your gift will definitely bring them great joy!

I know the definition of give in the beginning of this post clearly states that the act is done without expecting anything in return; however, you will be surprised by how much you actually do get in return by being a truly joyful giver!!
Happy Giving!!

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