The Art of Giving

Faith is an innate human quality that is often put to the test when life seems most challenging, when things seem the darkest.

As we near the winter solstice we are, literally, approaching the darkest of times. And yet we find ourselves in the very season that offers us a way to demonstrate the deepest aspects of our faith.

This is the season we join with family and friends to celebrate our faith through traditions, festivities, and religious ceremonies.

We celebrate our faith in the seasons and the rhythms of the universe because we know that the darkest hour is just before the dawn. We know and celebrate that the days will begin to lengthen and, more deeply, we celebrate the spiritual aspects of what it means to move away from darkness toward the light.

This celebration is seen throughout the world with traditions such as the lighting of candles, adorning our homes and trees with lights, and in the igniting of huge bonfires that dispel the cold of the long winter night. We carry an unwavering faith and celebrate that light will once again return to a world that has been blanketed in darkness.

In addition to being a season of faith, this is also a season that offers us the opportunity to show our dedication to others. One of the ways it is customary to demonstrate our dedication to others is through the ritual of giving gifts. For those who come bearing gifts, and who have traveled far, are certainly demonstrating their dedication. Dedication to those they love and to those they honor.

The giving of gifts is just one way to show our dedication. In this season and in this coming year, here are a couple of other ways we can demonstrate our dedication:

Dedication to self- in a way that transcends selfishness.The great American author and mythologist Joseph Campbell states that “a vitalized man vitalizes the world.” Paying attention to and responding to our own needs in order to become more alive and engaged in our life enhances our ability to be healthy and productive. Dedicating ourselves to the goal of meeting our needs in a healthy way will be ‘vitalizing’ and allow our life’s creative endeavors to shine into the world.

Dedication to others- in a way that is not limited to good deeds and kind acts. We all have succeeded (and sometimes not) in this basic human journey we call life. When we dedicate ourselves to being authentic we will, in fact, be showing our dedication to others. Paying attention, with our full presence, and without an agenda is one of the greatest gifts we can offer. To authentically bring the light of who we are, in the many faceted ways humans can; to others, to our community and to the world is very healing. Sometimes, in its simplicity, the greatest gift we can give to others is our full presence - for we let others know we care by ‘showing up’.

Dedication to a greater cause- physical or spiritual. I am reminded of the old gospel song by blues artist Reverend Gary Davis - Just as long as I am in this world I am the light of this world. This is true just so long as we dedicate or rededicate ourselves to action that reflects our deepest spiritual principles. In these times we are in need of heroes, those willing to bring forth their unique light to the world, to demonstrate their faith and to share the authentic gift of who they are with their community.

 

From all of us at The Ripple Foundation:

Here’s to letting your light shine in this season and in all the seasons of the coming year.

 

Steve Stroud

Executive Director

The Ripple Foundation

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The Ripple Foundation, a 501(c)3 Not For Profit WA State Corporation, 2012 - 16©
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