UU and Gifts

This is a gift-giving holiday season.  Media ads urge us daily to shop for, wrap, and give presents to our loved ones.

At the Sedona Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, rather than viewing gifts as coming mostly from stores and websites, we see the loveliest gifts as emerging from within each other.

In his book The Healing Wisdom of Africa, Malidoma Somé (our minister’s mentor) writes, “…people crave two things: the full realization of their innate gifts, and to have these gifts approved, acknowledged, and confirmed.”

Somé’s people (the Dagara of Burkina Faso) understand that:

  • we ALL have gifts
  • these gifts come into the world with us when we are born
  • when expressed, these gifts enrich the well-being of our community
  • human beings long to deliver their gifts and to have them acknowledged

Our gifts are the qualities we have as unique human beings with rich life experiences. They can’t be bought or taught. They can’t be used up or lost.  We shine when we offer them to others.

A gift needn’t be a bunch of information or stories, a skill set or a talent. It can be our way of being, of seeing, of speaking, of moving, of relating to others. Each of us has easy-to-miss, subtle, unflashy or even oddball gifts that contribute to others’ well-being.  Even the least “talented” person among us has gifts of infinite value to offer the world, every day.

Your gift might be making others comfortable in your presence, acknowledging someone’s kindness, listening attentively, or an infinity of other ways that help your community thrive.  These gifts are built in; they flow freely from us; we can offer them abundantly to others.

This holiday, when you see each person, ask yourself: What is one of that person’s spiritual gifts? How have I witnessed that giftedness in action? How might I affirm the gift I see? How might I offer them my gifts?

A better, more just, more loving world gets closer when we know what our gifts are; when we see others’ gifts; when we express our gifts; when we use them humbly and in service of a greater Love.

[published December 15, 2023]