Saturday, December 24, 2011

What Can I Give? Give My Heart

In the last verse of the hauntingly beautiful Christmas hymn, "In the Bleak Midwinter," the singer asks what he/she can give the Christ Child, "poor as I am," and the response is "give my heart."  At Christmas, it's easy to get caught up in gift-giving, albeit a lovely expression of affection for others.  However, as I have witnessed, giving one's heart is a treasured and priceless gift that often comes back to the giver multi-fold.  This morning, I had the opportunity to help prepare a free Christmas dinner that will be served at our church to 120+ people tomorrow.  All of the volunteers worked in the kitchen this morning with precision and organization, but also with the jocularity of Santa's merriest elves. I went to the church thinking that I was going to give, but instead I received so much from being with my fellow volunteers.  This afternoon, I visited St. Clare Meadows Care Center, the nursing home where my mom spent the last year of her life.  Although my plan was to bring cheer to the lovely people I had gotten to know while Mom was there, it was I who benefited from my visits.  These good people, many of whom in their 90s, provided me with cheer by telling me their stories, sharing their wisdom, talking lovingly about Mom, and expressing their gratitude for all they have.  The Christmas spirit was present in each experience and conversation I had today.  "Poor as I am," I risked to give my heart and I came away the richer.

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