If you’ve got no gift to give—or even to receive—for Christmas, it doesn’t mean you’re not rich.
Some of the richest families are the poorest. Rich in heart, not dollars. Dolly Parton’s song Coat of Many Colors highlights how a raggedy coat sewn with love can bring magic to a child. Paul Friedman talks about how some of the happiest couples are amongst the poorest. People who have near death experiences (NDEs) report that the little acts of kindness—not the big things—mattered most in their “life review.” The most meaningful treasures are wrapped within your heart.
But what are these heartfelt gifts?
Little acts matter, like smiling at a stranger or helping an animal. Virginia Reeves, author of Be Kind and Generous, says, “A smile, a kind word, a willingness to listen, and an encouraging remark are within the realm of all of us” (10%). For example, she says you can “watch for and express out loud the special gifts, traits, or talents of other people” (22%). You can also encourage “positive self-esteem in people. This means you build up someone’s feelings of worth and resist the temptation to give unwanted or unnecessary advice” (6%). As well, you can “affirm … that you firmly believe in their potential … that you believe in their dreams … that whatever they are choosing to pursue is possible” (14%).
But what if you give heartfelt gifts but get nothing in return?
Take comfort: giving without expectation is one of the purest forms of love. And you can give to yourself—and your loved ones—plenty of free spiritual gifts. These gifts can be given by learning how to love unconditionally.
Once you learn to love unconditionally, extend that love to your higher power. Follow the teachings of it. Christians, for example, turn the other cheek, forgive people, treat others as they wish to be treated, love their neighbors, see the best in others, go the extra mile, and serve others. But, Christian or not, we all gain when we strive to think like a saint, act like saint, feel like a saint—in short, become a saint—according to Paul Friedman. To grow more saint-like, ensure your every thought and deed is driven by pure motives. If not, change your thoughts and deeds. It takes constant effort. Anything magnificent in life takes constant effort. That’s the secret to rewarding relationships.
But what if you’ve got so little this Christmas that your belly aches with hunger?
Again, take comfort. Once, when I went to sleep hungry, God fed me a buffet during my dream. French toast and cheese—my cravings that night—filled my plate. And a single mother reports the impossible: that an angel fed her and her children a Thanksgiving dinner—when they were stricken with starvation. The day after the meal, the single mother went to thank the angel. But the hotel staff stated the angel’s room had been barren for months. Not one piece of furniture. The single mother, deeply moved, later set up The Angel Network to help families in need.
But what if no angels or buffet dreams feed you this Christmas?
You’ll still get your spiritual fill. Meditate on a meal you’ll someday share with your positive higher power. In the end, I believe, you’ll be served a buffet of pure love.
So, if Christmas is barren, look to your soul for your worthiest gifts.