With Christmas around the corner, sometimes we can get so caught up in the planning and gift buying that we may forget that giving does not just have to be about money or gifts.
This Thanksgiving I was fortunate to spend time with boyfriend’s family. The plan was to eat a Thanksgiving meal and travel to visit family. The day started out with an early Thanksgiving lunch. We were stuffed!!
Next we got on the road to travel about 60 miles. What should have only ended up being an hour-and-a-half drive turned into a two-and-a-half-hour to three-hour drive. We had to switch freeways in middle of the journey. It was a long ways, and this was the first time we were traveling to visit this family member’s home. Once we arrived we were tired. But of course spending time with family can always energize you. The time passed slow and we laughed, cooked and exchanged jokes. While we wished we could stay longer there was one more set of family members we had to visit. The grandparents. After two hours we jumped on the road and drove over two towns.
We arrived at the grandparents and spent time there. The time passed slow here; and the love and exchange felt was mutual. Again we shared memories, looked at baby pictures and shared yummy food. While we wanted to stay there longer, the ride coming out this way was so intense, and family members had to work the next day. It was a good time, and I don’t think I will ever forget the scene of my boyfriend embracing his grandmother. The love expressed was tremendous and true.
This years experience was different from years pass. We usually would all gather together in one place but circumstances made it impossible to do so this year, so we traveled to meet up with family.
After spending about two hours at the grandparents we got back on the road and headed back to Long Beach, CA. The trip back was a quicker one and we were energized, full and very happy.
I quickly got on the phone and spent the next hour-and-a-half calling my family, because I missed them so much.
The next day I spoke with my boyfriend’s mother, and she gave me the report of how energized and blessed my boyfriend’s grandparents were by our visit. Grandma reported that we stayed so long and genuinely brought warmth and happiness to their home. Finally, she mentioned the embrace from my boyfriend will be one she always will remember. I smiled inside and thought to myself about these events.
You see giving is not always about exchanging gifts. It’s also about spending time and getting out of your comfort zone; or going the extra mile to see the one’s you love. Sometimes an hour can seem an eternity when shared with love. Additionally blessings are a cyclical exchange or occurrence. You see we are all connected, and staying connected, no matter how small, is the most important aspect of all.
I’ll end with the stories of Jesus, where he would be out and about in the villages, walking from place to place with his disciples, healing people. You see Jesus didn’t stay in each town very long, but his impact was tremendous on the lives he touched. For instance Jesus traveled preaching and visiting others. Lazarus was dead and Jesus was supposedly late, but he changed the course of history (Mary & Martha’s history) by bringing back their brother’s life. Jesus changed the atmosphere everywhere he went, and although he couldn’t stay forever, he gave the very best of himself every moment in his life (John 11).
So, you see sometimes we can touch a life, for only a moment, and change a life in a small instance. This holiday season, don’t get so caught up on usual giving or exchanging gifts. Just focus on giving your best and going out of your way to spend time with the people you love. Not only will it change their life but, it will change yours. Love is a beautiful thing because it energizes two ways. It is a feeling felt and exchanged and circulated between others. When you bless others they will bless you.
Mary & Martha would become great advocates and followers of Jesus until his death, because of that one time. Jesus pressed on, went out of his way and gave his best. Give your best this season and leave the rest up to God.