“Daddy, wook at dis” little Mitch said with enthusiasm.  He just discovered a leaf covered in a fresh blanket of snow. In his young mind, he thought he discovered the only remaining leaf on earth – for the rest had disappeared in a wintry wonderland.   

My little boy didn’t have much time to live – only a few years, in fact.  He was diagnosed with a fatal disease – so my wife and I learned, in a hurry, the value of time and that each moment was a gift beyond price.  So, when my little boy handed me this leaf as if he found a treasure beyond measure, my heart melted, and I was reminded of 5 valuable lessons about the gifts of giving.

Start with the Heart

It wasn’t the leaf that was special, but instead because it came from the heart.  Most often, the sweetest gifts in life are felt with the heart, not with our hands.  A smile, a gentle compliment, or the recognition of a positive change are sometimes the sweetest gifts we’ll ever give or receive.  When we share our hearts with others, our own heart enlarges.  A simple, snow-covered-leaf held gently by a tiny hand became a beautiful gift.

 Little Things Are Big Things

Isn’t it interesting that when we forget the little things in life, we begin having big problems?  The little things make or break relationships, bank accounts, and personal well-being.  At the same time, the little things have the potential to make beautiful outcomes.   Often, it isn’t the big gifts that make a difference, but instead the accumulation of little ones.  I’m not talking about earrings and other things – but instead the gentle acts of kindness that keep our relationships healthy and strong.

A Thoughtful Gift is a Gift Twice

Little Mitch taught me the most meaningful gifts aren’t really about the thing itself, but instead the meaning or intent behind it.  A thoughtful gift is really an evidence of our affection; a way of saying “I understand you” or “I care.”  A thoughtful gift is a gift twice.

When You Give, You Get

There is a heavenly paradox that when you give to others, you always seem to get.  The sweetest memories in life often come from the times were losing ourselves in the service of others.  I could tell by the look on my sweet son’s face when he handed me this leaf; he got more out of giving than he got from keeping.

Moments Over Material Things

Perhaps the greatest thing I learned from the life and death of my son is that moments are far more valuable than material things.  I’d give everything I own away for just one more day.  Yet, when I think back on my time with my son, those moments that mattered are gifts I can hold near to my heart.  This photo is one such moment.

This holiday, as we think of giving gifts to each other, we have an opportunity to make this Christmas extra special.  Yes, there are gifts sitting patiently under the warm glow of our Christmas trees, but perhaps the greatest gift we can give our loved ones is a chance to step outside our routine and experience the joys and gift of giving to others.  We can make memories, which are the most beautiful gifts of all, by finding ways to serve others.

Join Mitchell’s Journey this holiday season to discover the beautiful Gift of Giving. Attached to this article is a free program that will schedule a seven-day task list into a calendar.  This tool will give you prompts and ideas on ways to love and serve others. As you give back to others, you will find your holidays enriched, and you'll have experiences to last a lifetime. I promise. 

This is your chance to let your light shine and give to others.