Simplicity is not about being poor and deprived; rather it’s about being filled with joy because our needs and wants are no longer consuming us. Too often we grasp at things when we’re struggling with a feeling of emptiness within. We know that what’s missing can’t be replaced by things, but we fall into old habits and beliefs. As we grow older and more mature, as we repeat this cycle more times than we care to count, the message does begin to sink in. As we become more aware of what things truly give us pleasure and fulfillment, we can let the incidentals go. The older we get, the less we need. It’s somewhat ironic that we give older people in our lives completely useless trinkets because there’s nothing practical that they need or want. But they also don’t need or want trinkets. Gift-giving can lose its meaning when it becomes a meaningless list of items to check off as they’re purchased.
If you have older people in your life, think about ways you can give them the gift of loving time. Don’t simply give them a gift card to a restaurant; include an invitation to make it a family dinner time. Offer to take them to a special event after the hectic holiday season is over and the winter days and nights stretch bleakly into early spring. Ask them if there’s something they would like. If you’re an older person, make suggestions to your children and grandchildren about what you would like.
TAKE A DEEP BREATH
Whatever age you are, this prayer can help focus your thoughts and bring peace to your heart: Grant me daily the grace of gratitude, to be thankful for all my many gifts, and so be freed from artificial needs, that I might lead a joyful, simple life. (Fr. Ed Hays)
A SIMPLE GIFT
A gift to a favorite charity can be a special way to honor someone that doesn’t become a burden or even just a dust-catcher. Many organizations even have lovely gift cards that let the person know you’ve made a donation in their name. At a family gathering, take a few minutes and have each person suggest a favorite cause for future gift-giving occasions.
—This blog was taken from the book Simple Gifts: Daily Reflections for Advent