This past Christmas I was gifted with some money. What was great was that for the past few years, I have bought one Christmas present. One present for my daughter. That was it. But this year, with the money received, we were able to buy Christmas presents for others. And, we were able to keep a Christmas tradition we started when we first learned about the divorce-that of gifting someone else with some money at Christmas. Nothing big. No extravagent gifts. My daughter was overjoyed. She said that this year really felt like Christmas! We all know the old adage--it is more blessed to give than to receive. This Christmas felt good to us because someone else's generosity allowed us to be generous.
One of the things I did with the money was to set aside enough to buy two tickets for the Third Day concert I knew was coming up in February. They haven't been concerts for me...they have been times of worship and fellowship. Besides, I am a Gomer (see http://www.gomertopia.com/web/guest/home to learn about Gomers!). Gomers just don't miss a Third Day concert! With money so tight, I wasn't sure how I was going to make this happen. Buying those tickets felt so luxurious and joyful. We were going for sure!! A few weeks later, I received an email from a friend who told us she was gifting us with two tickets to Third Day. How cool was this, from no tickets to four tickets? We were then able to gift HippieJoe and his girlfriend with our tickets. (HippieJoe is an ultimate Gomer, so there was noone that I would have rather gifted with tickets!)
So what? you are probably thinking. Well, here is the most awesome part. We figured out that HippieJoe's parents had been gifted tickets by couple A. Couple B had bought an extra ticket for their brother, but he couldn't come. So, they gifted his ticket. The friend who gifted us our tickets ended up with an extra ticket when her husband couldn't come, so she ended up gifting that ticket to a young lady from church who didn't have one, someone she didn't even know! My daughter and I had been twice gifted with tickets, first by the money we had received and then with actual tickets. Plus, we had the joy of gifting someone else tickets. Are you following this? Almost everyone in this little circle was at the concert because they had been gifted with tickets!
That just excites me. This was only a concert, but such a great example of the Bride of Christ...looking out for each other, blessing each other, taking care of each other, interconnected and interdependent. This happens over and over, day after day, from small, seemingly insignificant things to those huge critical things. One Christ, one Body, one Community!!
There is a lesson in this besides the obvious. With all the loss that is experienced in divorce, one of the hardest loss is that of the blessing of giving. Resources are limited...money, time, energy. It's easy for you and everyone else to focus only on your neediness. But, when you are a Christian, comes the need to give, to bless others, as you yourself have been blessed. One of the greatest gifts my Christian friends gave me throughout my divorce was keeping our relationship "mutual". They not only allowed, but invited me, to pour into their lives as I was able. Perhaps I couldn't give money, but I could give a listening ear, I could kneel in prayer for their needs, I could laugh with them, I could weep with them, I could help lessen the load of their burdens, as they had lessened mine.
Remember to keep the relationship "mutual"!