Find Abundance Through Sharing

These days, scarcity is everywhere. As the media tell us daily, jobs are scarce, money is tight, credit is hard to get, and hope for speedy recovery is in short supply. On top of the financial pinch, many of us feel caught in a perpetual time crunch — there never seem to be enough hours in a day. Everywhere you look seems constrained, diminished.

One great way to create a feeling of abundance is to share. Example: last weekend our family hosted our annual holiday party. Each year we invite friends and acquaintances from all aspects of our lives, I bake hundreds of cookies and other goodies, my husband makes his signature glog, and we open our home for three hours of complete chaos. A hundred-plus people came, including a horde of marauding, sugar-crazed children, and we all had a blast. It made us happy to give of ourselves, our food and drink, and our home. And in addition to the satisfaction of giving and sharing was the joy of gathering all our friends together. It reminded us of how lucky we are, how many wonderful people we know, and what a strong community we have around us. We felt rich, indeed.

Hospitality is runs deep in many cultures and religions: in Judiaism, hospitality is a mitzvah (hachnasat orchim); Christians are exhorted to feed the hungry (think loaves and fishes); and Islam also commands followers to feed others. And regardless of religious or moral obligation, hospitality helps build community and sustains communities in difficult times. It benefits both the receiver and the giver. And it feels good.

So if this holiday season finds you tightening your belt and feeling discouraged, find a way to share what you have. Don’t worry, it needn’t to involve hundreds of cookies, nor does it have to cost much. Open your home and host a pot luck for friends. Invite a couple of families over for hot cocoa and caroling. Or if food and parties are not your thing, share your other precious resource, time. Visit or call a friend or family member or volunteer for your favorite charity.

Yes, times are tough and the economy is bad. But connecting with friends, loved ones, and community by giving of our own resources reminds us of riches that have nothing to do with our bank balances.