Simple Gifts

One of America’s most popular folk songs is Simple Gifts, (you can hear one version here). It was sung at the inaugurations of three presidents (Reagan, Clinton, Obama).  It was written by a Shaker church leader, Joseph Brackett, Jr.  Brackett wrote only one verse and other verses were added by non-Shakers.  It was written for a quick dance, not as a hymn.  Males would form compressed concentric circles and explode outward.

Simple Gifts in this troublesome time is not just a song, but a call for a change in how we live our lives.  We place greater value on what is really important to us:  our health, our family, time for reflection, and memories of special moments in our life.  These are simple gifts that we often don’t even think about in normal times.

Of course, there are the simple gifts that we can no longer enjoy:  the smile of a close friend, saying goodbye to a loved one who has passed away and even something as simple as a hand shake or a hug.

Simple gifts are not just relevant in difficult times. They are just as applicable in all times. Often these gifts are unexpected. Just imagine how valuable a personal note might be to a former teacher who helped guide you. Simple gifts are expressions from the heart and not something you buy at a store.

Just imagine how simple gifts can reduce the stress and anxiety of those receiving them. Just imagine how the receipt of a simple gift can reduce hatred, fear, and anger towards others. Just imagine how you would feel from giving a simple gift. Just imagine how our society would change if each of us pledged to give at least one simple gift each day.

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“The simple things in life are the greatest gifts.” – Unknown

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