Thursday , April 22 2021

Pentland: Give the gift of affection and enjoy the gesture

Rev. John Pentland of Hillhurst United Church.

Stuart Gradon Stuart Gradon / Calgary Herald

"It is better to give than to receive" is a familiar phrase we will hear at Christmas time. It often seems a little burdened with guilt, used as a way to discourage children from their natural state of desire. It is sometimes used to help us get a perspective on what gift exchange is. The truth is that this phrase has a deeper wisdom, because when we give, we feel better about ourselves. Giving has a double benefit. It's a win-win!

There is freedom in letting go of what we want and considering what we can give. It helps us to discover a deeper meaning and purpose. It improves our sense of identity. Christmas helps us focus on who we are and how we can contribute to life. The Christmas Nativity speaks of giving symbolic gifts. While diapers, coffee, and a pacifier might be more practical gifts for Mary and Joseph, the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh spoke of leadership, divinity, and death.

Gift giving. We are better and our community is better when we do it. The great thing about this is that there are many amazing organizations that help make donations easier. Each organization has a face and a history of how people are transformed by the generosity of others.

Can you imagine how you help a teenager discover the fun of cycling? Two Wheel View has the mission to use the bicycle as a tool to create resilience. Yes, cycling is common for many, but it is an extraordinary experience for another. I benefited and supported this organization on a trip to Argentina. My trip helped finance trips for young people who rarely see another world. Teens have the chance to learn, develop skills and see the wonder of Quebec. A win-win!

You may consider supporting the Alzheimer's Society. For me, I am helping the mother of my friend, Faye, who has this debilitating disease. You could be helping caregivers who need support to take care of someone whose life has changed dramatically. The gift of education or pause is a beautiful gift to someone. A win-win!

Alternatively, you can support a person in crisis by funding the Suicide Prevention Center. This agency helps educate and encourage people to know that mental illness is not shameful, but a reality in many people's lives. Help people survive and thrive. A win-win!

The Calgary Herald Christmas fund allows us to try the phrase "it's better to give than to receive". Consider the opportunities to give and feel good about it. In fact, it is better to give than to receive. A win-win indeed!

John Pentland is the Chief Minister of Hillhurst United Church

To donate, call 403-235-7481 or visit

To read other Christmas Fund stories, go to fund

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