There is such joy in giving. I had just a taste of it when I was young.
When I was about fourteen years old I made fifteen dollars a week delivering the Dayton Journal Herald Monday through Saturday morning. In my neighborhood was a small store with bikes and toys and hardware called Western Auto. I was browsing in the store one day about a month before Christmas and my eyes fell on something I had always wanted myself when I was younger. It was an electric football game. This was long before realistic and reliable computer games were introduced. But the television commercials made those electric football sets look irresistible. They had little plastic men on tiny plastic feet the moved when the board vibrated.
I stood looking at the set and remembered that Western Auto had a layaway plan. I had bought a bike on the plan before. I would stop in and make payments every Saturday from my paper route earnings. My heart beat fast just thinking about it. I laid the nicest one they had away.
At night I would lay in bed and dream about how excited my brothers were going to be when they opened their gift on Christmas morning. They would never expect such an elaborate gift from me. They would be shocked and delighted. For the first time in my life I was beginning to experience a truth Jesus taught, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
One evening we were all gathered at the dinner table and I was talking about my day. My family including by brothers Kevin and Nathan who were about four and seven at the time were all gathered around the table. Without thinking I said, “This afternoon I was at Western Auto and I made a payment on the electric foot…” suddenly I realized that I was giving away my Christmas secret to my brothers. They stared at me wide-eyed and silent and I said, “I’m just kidding.” But I don’t think they believed me.
Still I can see them in their pajamas on Christmas morning bent over their electric football game.
The spiritual gift of giving is a rare and wonderful gift. I have noticed that when a group is surveyed that givers are the smallest group. At this time of the year, though, a whole lot of giving is going on. I think the Spirit tugs on many of us this time of year to be givers. It delights me to see my children take what money they have and buy things for one another. It must be a delight to the Heavenly Father to see his children give to each other, too.
Riverfront Character Inn
December 19, 2005