CHRISTMAS is just around the corner, this means that once again an abundance of gifts for the yuletide season can be expected. But how can we truly appreciate these acts of sharing vis-à-vis the intent and manner of giving? And, how can we isolate the genuine sense of generosity from the somewhat “socially obligated intent” that usually characterizes these gestures during the yuletide season? Understanding the intent of such acts of giving lies in thoughtful consideration of the “Kind of Giving” these deeds were done. Giving can be characterized as follows:
GRUDGE GIVING: A bitter giver normally gives with a grudge, and giving with a heavy heart means that the act was done with so much resentment and unwillingness. Giving under this circumstance means that such an action was void of one’s free-willed generosity. “At kapag napipilitan ka lang sa iyong pagbibigay, ibig sabihin ay pakitang-tao ka lamang sa iyong pagbibigay na ito.” Grudge Giving is Fake Giving. One does not truly give if one is not sincere in doing such an act. Everything under this kind of giving is purely orchestrated and done as an act of image building.
CALCULATED GIVING: Quid pro quo … when one gives in exchange for something the act becomes calculated or measured. Kindness under this framework is reduced to a mere “barter” of favor and assistance geared to satisfy one’s own desire for personal gain. “Ang pagbibigay ay di sinusukat at walang hinihiling na kapalit. Sapagka’t ang taos-pusong pagbibigay ay nagmumula sa pagmamahal sa kapwa.” Genuine giving is an act selflessness. Sharing one’s resources with someone in need is not just sharing a piece of material possession but the offering as well of one’s personhood for the sake of another.
OBLIGED GIVING: When someone engages in the act of giving because he or she is mandated to do so then such an act becomes purely mechanistic or procedural. Similar to Grudge Giving such an action lacks the personal volition to care for another, and though one might argue that giving is a “social responsibility and obligation” the genuineness of such an act should still emanates from one’s personal yearning to be a “being for others”. It is likewise disturbing to see when some government officials would even advertise in big and bold Streamers these acts of giving just to gain public recognition for a charitable work they were elected to perform. This adds more insult to injury because when you demand public acknowledgement for an action you performed only in compliance to your public position you offend the intelligence of the people you are supposedly helping.
THANKSGIVING: To give without the fanfare, conditions (strings-attached) and self-centered intentions is the true essence of giving. Offering one’s time, treasure and talent as a pure sharing of oneself for the needs of others is an act of thanksgiving in appreciation of God’s abundant and countless blessings. Sometimes we only see the things we do not have but fail to be thankful for the things that we have, and it is in realizing this generosity of God in our lives that we are able to learn to be generous to others. Giving is giving till it hurts. Only when such an act can give us a personal sense of discomfort can we truly experience the act of giving.
True giving isn’t really about the gifts but about the love and sacrifice of the person giving it! Consider this: “One Christmas morning, one of the natives brought the missionary a seashell of lustrous beauty. When asked where he had discovered such an extraordinary shell, the native said that he walked many miles to a certain bay. ‘Thank you!’ exclaimed the missionary with gratitude, ‘It was wonderful of you to travel so far to get this lovely gift for me.’ His eyes brightening, the native answered, ‘Long walk part of the gift!’” (Gerald Horton Bath)
Pope Francis likewise explains, “to Christians, the future does have a name, and its name is Hope. Feeling hopeful does not mean to be optimistically naïve and ignore the tragedy humanity is facing. Hope is the virtue of a heart that doesn’t lock itself into darkness, that doesn’t dwell on the past, does not simply get by in the present, but is able to see a tomorrow. The future is, most of all, in the hands of those people who recognize the other as a ‘you’ and themselves as part of an ‘us.’ We all need each other”.
The upcoming local and national polls will indeed be an eye-opener for us in reevaluating the way we are supposed to appreciate the true meaning of giving as a selfless act of offering the precious GIFT OF SELF to someone, which comes hand-in-hand with the item wrapped in each present.
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