Lighten up for the Christ­mas sea­son

Whanganui Midweek - - PATH OF LIFE - Mis­sion in the City: Hopes and Dreams — My Story,

“Maybe Christ­mas, the Grinch thought, doesn’t come from a store.” — Dr Seuss

As the help­ing agen­cies en­ter into the sea­son of giv­ing, I am mind­ful of how much the world has changed, or maybe just the western world. For peo­ple in many coun­tries, Christ­mas comes and goes much like any other day, the long walk for wa­ter, a queue for food, or crops to be tended to. In western coun­tries it is more about the hur­ry­ing and scur­ry­ing to get presents, the presents on our fam­ily mem­bers wish lists, or a present that will bring smiles to chil­dren’s faces. All this in the view of the mul­ti­tude of Santa’s ap­pear­ing ev­ery­where in malls, shops and at pa­rades. I want to say — “Bah humbug”. Yet I used to think the same way, find­ing a way to make sure ev­ery­one had a great Christ­mas and got lots of presents.

We fo­cus on fam­ily gath­er­ings where some­times the stress and strain of get­ting on, of­ten led to sep­a­ra­tions that go on much longer than De­cem­ber. Some of us face a long jour­ney, and there is worry about safety on the roads and the ev­er­chang­ing weather pat­terns.

“One in five fam­i­lies can’t af­ford Christ­mas,” — the head­lines tell us. The pres­sure is on not only to do for us, but to find a lit­tle ex­tra for a needy fam­ily. Re­mem­ber — Christ­mas doesn’t come from a store. Christ­mas comes from feed­ing the hun­gry, cloth­ing the naked, for­giv­ing the guilty, wel­com­ing the un­wanted, car­ing for those who are un­well, lov­ing our en­e­mies and do­ing to oth­ers in a way we would want them to do for us. I have a ques­tion for you — why wait for Christ­mas to do that? Christ­mas, my friends, is love in ac­tion. Ev­ery time we give and love, it’s Christ­mas!

Let the song of the an­gels be heard as we en­ter this time of giv­ing and lov­ing. My an­gels re­mind me they act as role mod­els to give to oth­ers and this must be done with­out ex­pec­ta­tion of any­thing in re­turn.

Lighten up, have a lit­tle fun, laugh­ter is heal­ing, look on the lighter side of life. Whether you be­lieve in An­gels or not, they will bring magic, fun and joy to Christ­mas. Aro­hanui.

■ Shirley-Joy Bar­row is the au­thor of

pub­lished by Philip Gar­side Pub­lish­ing Ltd. E-mail: bel­[email protected]

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