The Joy of Giving

As I was driving down for a meeting today, I saw festive lights and christmas decorations adorn many shops on the road side. This xmasgot me thinking around christmas, the spirit around the season and so many heart warming anecdotes that one gets to hear. It then stuck me that there was this one incident that I had the good fortune to witness first hand.  I had written about it in my forum during this very month couple of years ago. A story that touched many reader’s heart and spirit. So I thought it is a good time to share and spread some cheer! So I did some work… dug up the story from my archives and here it is for you….

I stay in a fairly large residential colony. Some houses witness Christmas decorations and red stars can be seen hanging outside a window. Apart from that and the plum cake that makes its way into my house, I have been isolated from Christmas celebration. But what I was fortunate to witness yesterday not only gave me the inspiration for the blog, but a new perspective of how we can view the Joy of Giving. I was walking back to an empty home for the night, so was not hence in much of a hurry!

As I entered my colony, I saw a rather thin Santa Claus walking into the first floor house of the opposite building into a house which I knew belonged to a old Hindu lady living alone. Her Children are NRI who visit her once in two years. Normally a cheerful lady, she was getting older by the day and quieter. So I was intrigued by this Santa who stood outside her door, shaking a bell in one hand while knocking with the other. Some others who were also drawn by this unusual scene gathered along. Out of our deference for Santa did not brow beat him into asking his identity but joined him outside the lady’s door. Reassured on seeing us along with this stranger Santa, the lady opened the door and the lone Santa burst into a merry song..IN TAMIL!!

When Santa opened his mouth to sing it was hard to conceal the identity. It was our iron man (istri wala)..who had borrowed a Santa Costume from his customer. He had heard the lady tell him casually how much she misses her children and how every function is an ordeal reminding her of her loneliness. And this reminded him of his parents back in village all alone by themselves. He wanted to do something to make her feel better. And hence the disguise.

 The lady was swept with emotions and gave a bear hug not only to Santa but almost to all of us who had assembled. We were all pulled instantly into the mood of wishing good luck to each other. The whole celebration lasted all but 10 mins but left a night long warmth from having been a part of something good from the bottom of the heart! Going by my emotions, everyone who was a part of the spectator crowd felt as much happy as the lady for whom the visit was staged!

Today the spirit of Christmas often conjures up in one’s mind decorated Christmas tree and presents. Underneath the presents, we seem to have buried the true spirit of “Giving”. If only we can extend the true Christmas spirit to our every day life – it would be so enriching every time we give; not presents – but our time and our attention. A selfless gesture motivates many more in the person who performs it and inspires the receiver to do it unto someone else. It is like a flywheel that picks momentum with every turn.

While we set ourselves ambitious targets in personal and professional life, can we set a simple target for acts of selflessness to be done if not daily – at least weekly? If you have a ward in scouts you can see them going around with good-deed book where they have to authenticate from the receiver an act of good will they have performed. As adults – where is our good deed book?

As we all cross another Christmas season – maybe it will be of value if we can put ourselves to believe: “Christmas is a state of mind – not a date. Christmas is in the heart – and not under an Xmas Tree!!”

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