The greatest gift is joy and happiness
Even before the fireworks associated with November 5 burned themselves out, we have been regaled with calls to spend more and more on all the gifts which will make us and our loved ones happy this Christmas.
Of course, that is so much claptrap. Since when did owning lots of throwaway items make us happy?
Despite the Santa parades, the glam and the glitter, there is another message the season brings.
There was such a thing as a stable where two poor people took refuge so a baby could be born in privacy, though definitely not in comfort.
This image gets swamped these days by overwhelming exposure to large men in red suits, enormous Christmas trees, and retailers offering preChristmas bargains to entice us to open our wallets.
But surely, the essence of Christmas is that we open our hearts, not necessarily our moneyboxes.
We should all be aware that in our midst, here in the KapiMana area, there are people who struggle to make ends meet, whose Christmas will be very slim.
Then there are those who are released early from prison so the Corrections staff will not have too many customers over the holiday period.
And there are our street people – every city has them – to whom one day is much the same as another, except for the weather.
Can we just shut our eyes and pretend these people don’t exist?
Can we simply concentrate on our own pleasure and comfort to the exclusion of others who don’t move in our circle?
Can we genuinely take delight in some expensive gift, knowing there are others in our neighbourhood with nothing?
The financial recession has made many of us aware of the necessity to save rather than spend what we earn.
We are fortunate indeed if we have extra funds to put away – many haven’t.
The recession has shown us the folly of putting all our trust in money and possessions, a lesson we learn with difficulty.
Those responsible for the financial crisis the world found itself in are now reinventing themselves and carrying on as before, granting themselves ever greater increases in salary and dividends – and to blazes with the rest of the people.
If I could have just one wish this Christmas time, it would be that we would all learn the value of sharing what we have.
I am reminded of the words of James Russell Lowell in 1848:
‘‘ The Holy Supper is kept, indeed.
In whatso we share with another’s need;
Not what we give, but what we share,
For the gift without the giver is bare.’’
If we have little of the world’s goods to share with others, we all have something infinitely greater – ourselves. A smile; a cheery word; a blessing on a little child.
Let’s spread the peace and joy to everyone we meet. Our community will be a better place and we will be so much richer in ourselves. A blessed and happy Christmas to you all.