Give It Away

In the U.K. December 26th is Boxing Day.  The tradition started when servants who worked hard during the labor-intensive Christmas holidays, were given time off the day after Christmas; gifts of needed clothing, food, and extra money were given them by their masters. But in the U.K. today, this day has become the day to box up things families have accumulated or outgrown and give them to charities that serve the needy.

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 But not just on Dec. 26, but as a way of life, maybe “Give It Away” should be more than a catchy song title, but a revolutionary way of living that goes against the grain of almost everything we see or read or hear in the culture around us.  We hear much about accumulating as much as possible, protecting and securing what we accumulate, and making sure that when we die, we keep our accumulations from being taxed, siphoned, stolen or diminished any more than is absolutely necessary and legal.

But Jesus taught a different way and invited those who want to be truly happy to totally tip the culture up-side down.  If we spend our lives always striving to win, He taught, we will ultimately lose.  But if we spend our lives giving ourselves away, we won’t be able to even hold all the winnings.  He said the gentle-spirited folks would end up with the whole earth, and that the comforts of life will fall to those who know how to mourn.

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Now, it seems, psychologists and counselors are catching up to what Jesus said.  Ingrown living tends to contribute to depression, fear, and anxiety, while caring about others, getting involved in great causes, and investing energy to be the answer to the problems we see and sense is an incredibly enriching, joyful, and rewarding way to go – and an effective cure for sadness, depression, and feeling overwhelmed.

So, after this season of gift-giving how shall we live?  We can “live large” or stay small.  One thing is promised: we can never outgive the Giver of all good things.  Go ahead.  Just try!

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If you want more happy than your heart can hold ,
If you want to stand taller – if the truth were told –
Take whatever you have and give it away!
If you want more happy and a lot more fun
And deep satisfaction when the day is done –
Throw your heart wide open and

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