'tis a Gift..

Snowman on frozen Lake Saimaa, Puumala, FinlandThere are many ways to love someone. We can love them in gigantic dramatic demonstrations and we can love them in what some would deem inconsequential little ways and sometimes in the way that lay in between the two. Each is good and worth it and needed.

Some people expect grand gestures and then are disappointed when loving is a bit more simple. There is a buildup, an anticipation in gift giving and receiving as if the size of the gift, the cost, the contemplation of what would be most perfect or the ordeal of finding the ultimate prize and then presenting it in a flourish of colored ribbons and shiny paper. Yet, the actual gift is not the important thing. It is not even the thought that counts; it is the love behind the thought. A gift, no matter how small is huge with the love that it is given with and received with. There should be no disappointment.

Gifts are not necessarily something material. The definition is: something given voluntarily without payment in return, as to show favor toward someone, honor occasion, or make a gesture of assistance. It is supposed to be a present with no strings attached.

We hear all the time how Christmas has become so commercial. It isn't unless that is how we ourselves are making it. If we are frenzied, it's because we make ourselves so. The only perfect gift we can give someone is our love of them and all that is connected to it. This is the ultimate gift and present. We can forgive and be forgiven. We can cherish those who think we have forgotten. We can love the unlovable and we can also accept others gifts with graciousness and kindness.

Sometimes that is the hard part. To allow another to give to us when we feel we are undeserving of their understanding or their love or their kindness. Those treasures aren't wrapped up in pretty paper and bows. And it is hard to send a thank you note or even to express our gratitude completely when someone loves us anyway. These are the simplest and most complex gifts we can ever receive. These are Christmas.

Monika M. Basile