It’s the most generous time of the year…

I am not one to call this time of year the “Holiday Season”. I like to say Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year. But I get the idea of the Holiday Season. It starts with Thanksgiving and goes through New Year’s Day. Regardless of what it is called. I love this time of year.

In a general sense, many people view this time of year as a time to bring joy to others. We can see this in all the Christmas movies, the songs we hear, the gift-giving, decorating, and celebrations. Peoples’ attire gets more festive and fun. For kids, they get excited writing letters to Santa and praying that their wishes come true.

I am very much like a little kid. I love gifts, I love unwrapping gifts. One year my wife put my Christmas gifts in gift bags. It was terrible. What? You remove one piece of tissue wrap, look into the bag, and see what you got. I prefer looking at the different shapes and sizes and trying to pick which one I would like to open next. What could it be? It is very exciting. Yes, I said it before. I am like a little kid in that way. It is definitely one of my love languages. Receiving gifts. 

However, there is something that I enjoy more than opening presents and receiving gifts, and that is giving gifts. Actually, there have been several studies done throughout the years that show the joy we get from giving can last up to five times longer than the joy we get from receiving. This is the reason I want to talk about why we should be generous.

What is Generosity?

Generosity is the quality of being kind or generous (Google 2020). Being generous is showing a readiness to give more of something, such as money or time, than is strictly necessary or expected (Google 2020).

Generosity is the opposite of selfishness. Being selfish means our priority is to focus on ourselves. When we are only worried about ourselves, we just look at our situation and we miss great opportunities.

Don’t focus on you

To use a sports analogy, quarterbacks who get so focused on the pass rush and are worried they might get sacked aren’t going to see the open receivers. They are too focused on the defenders that are coming for them. They won’t see the wonderful opportunity that is in front of them down the field. They will never throw a touchdown.

My point is we need to keep our eyes outward focused. Don’t be so concerned with our own situation that we miss the great opportunities downfield. 

Being generous is life-changing.

I love Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Scrooge is the old miser, the “saver”. He probably lived on a tight budget and wanted to accumulate as much money as he could. He liked having the power that he thought money gave him. His problem was that he was not generous. He never gave.

When he finally came to the realization that he should probably start giving, the act of thinking about others and intentionally giving for the benefit of others brought him more joy than he ever experienced. His life was never the same because he started to give. This isn’t a head thing. It is a heart thing. The act of giving changed his heart.

Being generous is healthy

I am not a medical person but I have heard that being happy and joyful is better for your health than being miserable and depressed. I am not saying that being happy or depressed is in itself just a choice. It is not. But we can choose what we do. If we start to give, if we begin to open an area of generosity into our life, if we begin to choose actions that are generous, then joy will start to move in. It might not be as drastic as we see in A Christmas Carol but the change will start to come. Joy will begin to move into our lives and we will begin to see more and more areas where we have an opportunity to give.

There are only three things we can do with money. Save, Spend, and Give. You need to do all three to have a healthy financial picture. Think of a financial balanced diet. The most fun is giving, but we won’t experience the fun until we start to do it.

Most people want to be generous

When I talk to people about their financial goals, we always tend to get onto the topic of giving. Up until seven years ago, my attitude towards giving was, “I will start to be generous when I have more left”. The problem was, giving was not a priority for us. We said it was, we said it was the first thing we would do if we had more. But every year we made more and more and our level of generosity was unchanged.

Make giving a priority

It hit me one day. The way we make generosity a priority is that we must give first. Before anything else. So we started to do that. We became intentional about our giving and it brought us so much joy. It became fun to find new and creative ways to give. One of my favorite quotes is from Dave Ramsey, “Giving is the most fun you can have with money”. I agree. However, giving is not limited to money. Finding time to serve at a soup kitchen, work in a food bank, read to elementary students, or sing Christmas Carols at a retirement home. Everyone has some talent that they can use to give.

Be generous today

This is the most generous time of the year. What are you going to start to give? What action will you take to become generous? Start today and build up momentum to make next year your most generous year ever.

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