During my studies at Divinity School, one of my classes focused on the essential question, what makes a gift? Is it the intention of the giver, the gratitude of the receiver, the nature of the gift itself?
To frame our discussion we watched Babette’s Feast, where an extraordinary dinner is prepared for a community that overtly does not want to receive it. Is this a noble generosity on the part of the chef, a kind of bullying wrapped in good intentions, a chance for both to discover something essential about life, a once in a lifetime transformative experience… maybe all of the above?
The film prompted a lively debate, yet every once in a while we get to witness a gift that is un-debatable, perfectly matched between the giver, the receiver, and some greater purpose. Whether the perfect book at the perfect moment, or the time to share a cup of tea and stories, or a grand gesture that shifts the course of a whole community, these magnifying, multiplying gifts can bring ripples that extend across time and space.
Dear ones, we are tipping into the holiday season for many, where we have a chance to grow our capacity for both giving and receiving.
Let us be generous.
Let us be gracious.
Let us be loving.
Let us be grateful.
If you are planning ahead for holiday gifts (maybe a good idea, with global supply chains in disarray), we hope you might consider Month of Sundays, which can be found at all of your favorite booksellers. One friend recently mentioned that she’s bought a stack of books to gift as she begins to reconnect with loved ones who have been apart, as a way to say, “welcome back.”
Thank you to those who have supported this endeavor to date, where proceeds have allowed us to give more generously than usual to some of the most vital nonprofits around. We designed the book to be evergreen, and hope it will bring comfort and connection through times of ease and times of challenge alike.