Christmas Is for Giving


ot so many years ago, Maurice Wright, a British farmer, bought a large painting from a neighboring farmer for less than four dollars and hung it in his barn.

After collecting cobwebs for several years, the painting was noticed by the farmerís tax accountant. He wondered what it might be worth, took a color photograph of it and sent the photo to Christies, the well-known London auction firm. Subsequently, he learned that the painting might be the work of Thomas Daniell, a highly acclaimed nineteenth century artist.

The painting turned out to be an 1808 Daniell. Art critics had been aware of its existence, but it had come to be known as the "Lost Daniell," its whereabouts having been a mystery for over a century.

Wright sold the painting at an auctionĖfor more than $90,000!

Imagine finding something like that in your barn! Think of the Christmas gifts youíd be able to buy this year.

But what if the enterprising tax accountant hadnít noticed the painting in the farmerís barn and considered its possible worth? It probably would still be hanging there.

At Christmas time especially, many of us are plagued with the problem of trying to buy gifts for our families and friends. What will we get and for whom? Where will the money come from? And why do we buy gifts anyhow?

Sad to say, like Farmer Wright, every one of us has untold riches to share with others, but unlike him, we usually fail to discover them. We get so caught up in the commercialization of Christmas we often overlook the most valuable gift of allóa gift we all have to give but often are unaware ofĖ the gift of ourselves.

Some parents give endless
things but never give themselves.

Let's be honest. Much of our giving is done because itís a Christmas tradition. We donít ask why we do it, we just do it. Sometimes we give only because someone else bought a gift for us and we feel obligated to buy a gift in return. Even worse, some of our giving has strings attached and becomes a subtle way of controlling, or seeks to "buy" another personís love.

But love cannot be bought and it is extremely sad when people consciously or unconsciously try to do this. It is equally sad when people feign love in order to get gifts.

Sadly, too, some parents buy endless things for their children as a substitute for love or as a means to control their children. They over-buy at Christmas, at birthdays, and throughout the year. They give endless things but fail to give the greatest gift of all, without which all gifts are emptyĖthe gift of themselves.

Children who grow up in this type of environment feel smothered. They tend to withdraw from their parents, who, using false guilt to add further control, complain, "After all Iíve done for you, you treat me like this!"

Michelle grew up in such a home. Her parents gave her everything she ever needed, and many things she never wanted, but they never gave themselves. Consequently, Michelle never learned how to give herself and, as a result, her children and husband are suffering.

Continued on Page Two

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