Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Joy is in the Giving

by Judy


Joy.  Such a happy word.  And a word that we associate with this time of year especially.  But sometimes it's a feeling that just won't come. 

I have been struggling this season to find the joy.  I know...sometimes that happens.  I hear people say, "I'm just not in the Christmas spirit yet."  But that has never been me - until this year. 

I thought the feeling would come when we decorated our Christmas tree.  Nope.
I thought the feeling would come as I began to receive beautiful Christmas cards from my family and friends.  Nope.
And I was certain it would come when our first snow fell yesterday.  Nope.

So this morning I was grumbling as I dragged everything out of our coat closet to find my husband's boots so he could shovel the driveway.  And I mean everything! (believe me when I say that he never would have found them!) At the bottom of the closet, pushed way to the back, I found several pairs of gently worn shoes and boots that my 10 year old had out grown. I also found gloves and hats that were too small for him now too.  So I put everything into a bag and took it to the Goodwill Store. I imagined the joy on some Mom or Dad's face knowing they'd be able to give their child a warm hat, or some warm boots.  Oh, and the joy of some little boy who could play in the snow because he had that warm hat and those boots! 

When I got back home my husband and older son were still cleaning out the driveway and sidewalk. When they were finished we all grabbed a shovel and went to our neighbor's house.  We knew they were out of town and we didn't want them to have to walk through all of the snow to get to their front door when they came home.  It was fun working together and it felt good knowing they were going to be happily surprised when they came home. 

And then, no kidding, it was like something magical happened. As I came in the house I noticed the dappled sunlight on my poinsettias.  I breathed in the wonderful scent of our beautifully decorated tree. As the afternoon wore on I could feel it!  It was like magic! Maybe it was going to happen today anyway, but I believe that I finally found the joy from the simple act of giving. 

How do you find "the joy"? Are there special things you and your family do together to spread the spirit of the season? We'd love for you to share with us, either on our Facebook page, or in our flickr group.

I wish for a joy-filled holiday season for all of you! 








7 comments:

Sarah Huizenga said...

It is amazing how the little things bring the most joy. I think too often we are looking for those big ah hah moments. I am sure your neighbors will be so happy to have their driveway and walkway free of snow. What a blessing.

terriporter said...

Oh, yes, it's always the giving that brings the most joy! What a sweet idea to shovel your neighbors' driveway! Although I'm sure they were grateful, I think you probably got even more from the giving. One of my favorite things was to watch my kids when they were first more excited to give a gift at Christmas than what they were receiving and last year got to experience that with my grandson. It's a magical time! Oh, and your shot of your poinsettias? That's magic too!

terriporter said...

Oh, yes, it's always the giving that brings the most joy! What a sweet idea to shovel your neighbors' driveway! Although I'm sure they were grateful, I think you probably got even more from the giving. One of my favorite things was to watch my kids when they were first more excited to give a gift at Christmas than what they were receiving and last year got to experience that with my grandson. It's a magical time! Oh, and your shot of your poinsettias? That's magic too!

Dotti said...

Such a beautiful post, Judy, with a heartfelt story. It's true ... joy comes from inside, as Kelly told us the other day and from giving, not from getting. And as Terri said, when we first see our children and grandchildren figure this out, it's a magic day and we know they're on the way to being generous, loving individuals. Thank you, Judy, for a reminder that it is 'better to give than to receive'! {And I'm in awe that you shoveled your neighbor's walk! My 85 year old mother has a wonderful neighbor who comes to snowblow her driveway and walk every time it snows. Such a godsend!}

Viv@within the Frame said...

Quite often helping or doing something for another really does give a quiet glow of joy . Being with friends and family is what really matters at this time of the year, my heart always goes out to people who maybe are all alone this year.

CarolHart said...

Such a heart-felt post Judy. The greatest gift we give ourselves is when give to others. You are such a good neighbor!

susan said...

'you are joy'…by giving the gift of bringing joy to others (shoveling the snow to make a walkway)…you brought joy to yourself. you were able to see…and feel things in a new 'light'. you were the beautiful red poinsettia feeling the warmth, the energy of the giving light. so glad you captured this photo as your gentle reminder of the magic of joy. happy holidays! xoxo

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