“Our standard is giving more than what is expected.” 


Today is the last day of November, and there’s only one month left of the year. For some, 2022 was the best year of their lives, and they are sad to see it come to an end. For others, it wasn’t such a great year, and they look forward to the coming year with new hope. For many, the next 30 days will be a month of giving. Whether we have had a great year or not so great year, most of us will be in the giving spirit for the rest of the year.


It’s not just gifts that we will be giving. Most of us will donate more than usual. We will also be kinder to others, and most of us will set aside our differences during this holiday season. It’s a great time of year, and almost everyone can agree on that. This spirit will carry us all the way to the new year, and great memories will be made.


Most of what I am saying is pretty easy to predict. We see it every year. The holidays and the end of the year present more opportunities for us to give, get together, and smile. What comes next is even easier to predict, but I’m not so sure if many people know why.


I feel like I talk about this at the end of every year and try to caution myself and others about it. What I’m talking about is the seasonal depression that seems to hit most people in the month of January. Many have their opinions about this, some of whom are much smarter than me. They will say it’s caused by a lack of sunlight on our skin and shorter daylight hours. And others will mention that it’s because we feel lonelier because the holidays are over.


I am sure those things are small factors, but I’m pretty sure I know what the biggest factor is. I don’t think it’s the sunlight, the end of the holidays, or feeling lonely. I personally believe it’s the lack of giving. Giving, my friends, is what makes us feel great mentally and spiritually. This eventually transitions into our feeling great physically.


This time of year, we give and look for additional opportunities to give. We give in so many different ways. Some of us will donate money or host parties in our homes. We will volunteer our time or send Christmas cards to family and friends. We will give gifts to others, visit friends and family, and give them our time. Many of us will do all of that and then some. And what all of this will do is help us feel great because the mind and the body are connected.


Then January comes, and we go back to our old ways. Maybe we still give, but it doesn’t even come close to what we gave the month before. This basically means that the way we feel physically and mentally doesn’t even come close to how we felt a month before. Can you imagine if the way we acted and treated other people in December was the same for the whole year?   


I am sure you agree that the world would be a much, much, much better place. I have a dream that one day the world will decide to give all year long. It doesn’t have to be gifts or money. It just needs to be love. If we can ever figure out a way to have the majority of the world decide to give every day, what a wonderful world it would be.


This dream I have can also be your dream. One day, it can even become a reality, but only if we share the dream with enough people. I’m willing to do my part and look for ways to give and serve every single day. I’m asking you today if you’re willing to do your part. Growing up, I used to always hear adults say that “it’s better to give than to receive.” I thought that I understood it. I thought it meant that when you give to others, it’s an amazing feeling. That, of course, is true, but I didn’t know there was more to it.


As I got older, I have realized there is so much more. I have realized that joy, a sense of fulfillment and purpose, and the positive effect on people’s physical and mental health are the real reasons why it is better to give than to receive. So here we are in the closing weeks of 2022. Some will give a little, and some will give a lot, but most of us will make a plan to give.


As 2023 gets closer, we seldom ask ourselves what we can do to give more in the new year. Instead, we actually ask ourselves the opposite. Many of us will make new goals and have New Year’s resolutions. Most of these will be with the intent to get more rather than give more. I just wanted to plant a seed today and see if I can inspire you to keep giving and serving long past this holiday season.  


The world needs us, and the world needs people who are willing to give. You don’t have to have a lot of money, and you don’t have to have a lot of time. You just need to have love in your heart and the willingness to share that with others.


Giving, my friends, is the way to a long, happy, and healthy life. I sure hope that I have inspired you to understand why giving is so important. I’m not sure if you caught it or not, but I sort of quoted Martin Luther King Jr. above by stating that I have a dream. Allow me to end this message by sounding like John F. Kennedy.


Ask not what the new year can do for you; ask what you can do for the new year! God bless each and every one of you. Please let me know how I can serve you through the rest of this year and next year as well. I plan to give and have faith that the rest will take care of itself.


Thank you so much for reading, and please have an amazing week!


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