We often hear a lot about the spirit of giving around the holidays.
A Bit About the Spirit of Giving
What Is the Spirit of Giving?
For many people around the world, Christmas is a perfect time to remember the importance of giving. After all, it is the time Christians remember the birth of Jesus Christ. And it was his sacrificial gift that the Bible teaches provided salvation for the world. But that is certainly not the only reason people have for living a generous life.
Basically, the spirit of giving is all about focusing on the thought rather than the gift. Maybe you've heard that it's the thought that counts. Well, that is a great motto to remember when you're trying to understand the concept. If you are focused on others before you worry about yourself, you are well on your way.
What Are the Origins of the Spirit of Giving?
Many religions and social groups throughout history have stressed the importance of giving. So it can be difficult to pinpoint a specific origin for the phrase or the philosophy. In more modern times, though, it has helped motivate some great acts of generosity. Some may think of the concept of "paying it forward," a phrase that even became a major Hollywood film. It refers to helping others in what becomes a chain reaction of giving.
One thing is clear: The origin of this way of thinking is less important than what you can do with it now. Because it crosses all cultural, ethnic and social lines. This is a truly human experience that we can all find some benefit in embracing. Beyond seeing the immediate result of providing for someone in their time of need, the feeling sticks around.
Why Is It Better to Give than to Receive?
The spirit of giving can often start with a deliberate desire to assist others. But you might just find that the longer you do it, the more you receive out of the process. It can make you a more empathetic person and even improve your own outlook on the world. As you increase your giving, you'll start to notice the generosity all around you.
Then there are the concrete benefits you can see when you give for the right reasons. Selflessly helping others often results in the sincerest expressions of gratitude. Too often, we focus on our friends and family when we're shopping for the holidays or birthdays. But it's important to expand that outlook to include those you might not even know. Most who live in the spirit of giving feel pulled toward those in true need. And when you start giving with no expectation of getting anything in return, you're getting there.
Is the Spirit of Giving All About Money?
Here's where a lot of folks get the spirit of giving a little twisted. Sure, it's great to give those you love a luxurious gift you know they'll really enjoy. And there's nothing at all wrong with such giving. But what we're talking about is the attitude behind the gesture, not the price tag. Giving a struggling stranger a smile and a meal might be more meaningful than giving someone else a car.
And the meaning isn't just apparent in the recipient. You can get so much out of the experience that it will likely inspire future generosity. A single act is not the same as a spirit of giving -- but it can lead you there. And as you take bigger leaps, you'll see that it has little, if anything to do with money. Giving your time, your compassion and your love can be a greater motivating factor than any material item.
Ways to Practice the Spirit of Giving
There are as many ways to give selflessly as there are people who embody the spirit of giving. But a few acts really stand out as great ways to get started. Around the holidays, many folks have a tradition of volunteering at a soup kitchen or another charity. But instead of keeping these displays to a specific time of day, a true giver does so all year. So maybe you'd like to partner with a good non profit organization in your region. Or it could be supporting a bigger mission through financial means and a sacrifice of time.
But what it really means is recognizing needs and meeting them. And that can vary, so it's important not to have preconceived notions of what giving looks like. It could be the panhandler you see on your way to work. Maybe it's a family you know happens to be struggling to pay their bills. The less fortunate and those who have suffered a loss are often in the most obvious need. But after you start to recognize opportunities to give, you'll probably start to see them everywhere.
The spirit of giving is one that can impact all those it touches.
We hope our guide has helped navigate you through what this way of living actually means. If so, share it with those you care about this season. And leave us a comment below if you have any final thoughts or questions.