The great­est gift is joy and hap­pi­ness

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION/ADVICE -

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.

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