Dear Clients and Friends – As is always the case, people from all faith traditions are once again joining Christians in celebrating the Christmas season. For Christians, we celebrate the birth of God’s son who takes on our humanity to reveal God’s love and to suffer and die in atonement for our sins. It also is time of gift giving as we emulate God and the gift He’s given us in Christ. For people of other faith traditions, it has become a season of good will and a time to yearn for peace.
The season has me thinking of our tradition of gift giving. For most, our gifts will be actual items – clothes, books, etc. But are there other more intangible gifts we can give to ourselves and others that have the potential to be even more meaningful? Here are some ideas we might consider “giving.”
A gift to ourselves of living in the present moment. So many of us live our moments – focused on the past, the future or some other situation than the one we are in at that moment. In the days ahead, try to live in the present moment and draw as much beauty and joy as possible from each moment.
A gift to a family member or friend of your undivided attention. Find an opportunity to sit down just with them. Look them in the eyes and ask great questions and then really listen to their answers. Mark’s and my dad was a master of this – his questions to others were thoughtful, kind and much more than a superficial “how are you.” Here are some of his that you might incorporate into your conversations during the holiday season:
- What was the most meaningful happening in your life this past year?
- What is giving you joy in this time of your life?
- What are you most proud of in the past year?
- What does the world need most from you in 2024?
These and other questions can connect you more deeply to someone you love. You might especially use them with that family member that you struggle to get along with – what a pleasant “gift” you’ll give them with this kind of caring.
A gift of an experience. I’m giving some special experiences in “24 as Christmas gifts. Purchasing tickets to a show or concert and taking your spouse or children might be a gift that creates a lasting memory.
The gift of praise. Consider how you might focus your comments this season on praising others rather than criticizing them. Look for the good in others and share with them qualities in them you admire. What a gift you’ll be giving them!
Finally, what about giving someone the gift of your forgiveness. I wrote about this in a recent WealthNotes and am struck by how powerful it can be when you give forgiveness to someone who has hurt you. Remember that forgiveness is a gift – not something a person has to earn from you. Begin the New Year without the burden of carrying a grudge against someone – that’s a heavy load for you – and in extending forgiveness (whether they ask for it or not), you can take that burden off of you and perhaps them as well.
On behalf of our entire team, know what a gift all of you are to us. May this Christmas season give all of you many joys and may the New Year offer you wonderful opportunities to fully live!
Written by Matt Palmer, Partner & Co-Founder