After last nights mass we gathered in our community room to celebrate Christmas night and to exchange gifts. There was a wonderful atmosphere of giving and receiving, of joy and acceptance.
"You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.
There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward.
And there are those who give and know not pain in giving,
nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue;
Through the hands of such as these God speaks,
and from behind their eyes He smiles upon the earth.
You often say, "I would give, but only to the deserving." The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pasture.
They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish.
See first that you yourself deserve to be a giver, and an instrument of giving.
For in truth it is life that gives unto life - while you, who deem yourself a giver, are but a witness.
And you receivers - and you are all receivers - assume no weight of gratitude,
lest you lay a yoke upon yourself and upon him who gives.
Rather rise together with the giver on his gifts as on wings;
For to be overmindful of your debt, is to doubt his generosity who has the free-hearted earth for mother, and God for father"
(Extract from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran)