No matter what holiday you celebrate this month, one thing rings true – it’s the season of giving.
While that message often gets lost in behind beautifully decorated trees, delicious food, and festive outfits, it’s really what it’s all about. I can’t help but notice that so much of the focus around this month is around finding the perfect gift for so-and-so. While I think that’s inevitably a part of the giving season (and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to find something special for your loved ones), there’s so much more to consider–and not only during this time of year.
As we were strolling around the city this weekend I started thinking about why I love this time of year so much. Outside of spending time with family and friends, it’s really a season of reflection and gratitude for me. This year has been especially incredible and I keep stopping myself just to be thankful for the wonderful blessings in my life. It’s easy to get caught up in the grind of life and your day-to-day priorities and forget to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.
I’ve spent a lot of time this year reflecting on what’s really important and worth either my time or money. I guess it’s a part of growing up, but my perspective has shifted and I’ve found myself turning an outward focus inward and looking for what makes me feel happy, whole and complete. One of the things that makes me feel that way always is giving.
Growing up we used to volunteer at a soup kitchen through our church regularly. It was both humbling and rewarding – I thoroughly enjoyed conversations that we would have with people who lived in the mission or the friendly faces that worked there full time. Everyone had a story and it reminded me that sometimes you’ll learn the most from being the listener.
In my current season of life, I’m not only in a different place both geographically but life is a bit more complicated than when I was 15. I’ve always been a believer that you should do whatever you’re capable of, whatever that may be. Whether it’s your time and you set aside a weekend to volunteer or help a friend of a friend who’s been struggling lately or it’s your finances and you can set aside an extra $50 a month to give to an organization you care about or consistently support an underprivileged family–anything helps.
A lot of times people look so much further outside of their own lives and circles when really there may be someone who needs your time or support a lot nearer than you think. My challenge to you this giving season is to find an opportunity to give something that can’t go under the tree. I’d love to hear your ideas and for your guys to share what you do!
Photos by Bekka Palmer