Christmas time has arrived.
The anticipation of what lays under the wrapping paper beneath the Christmas tree grows as each day is a day closer to Christmas Day.
The advertisements increase and the sales of 50% off are screaming from every outlet possible.
Christmas carols play in the shopping centres and elevators everywhere.
Carols by Candle Light sing-a-longs are held by nearly every church around and hundreds of people attend to join in the most magical time of the year.
There are Christmas parties, dinners and lunches within every business, sporting team and just about anywhere people have gathered in groups regularly throughout the year.
Catch-ups with long-time friends become more important the closer Christmas Day gets.
Amongst the stress of making sure everything is just right for Christmas lunch is the excitement of spending some real quality time with family members you haven’t seen most of the year.
It’s all worth every inch walked, every song sang and every agonising wait in the mile-long queues once the sun rises on Christmas morning and the kids wake you up at 5am when they can’t get out of bed before 8am any other day of the year, especially for school.
But it’s not always this way for everyone.
Christmas time can be the reminder a loved one is missing from the table.
It can be a prominent knife to the heart of a mum and dad who can’t give their children a present even from Santa.
There can be pressure from society, and the perception that other parents who can buy their children wonderful presents from Santa as well as themselves, are better parents than they are. Such pressure can lead to more debt than some families can afford to pay back.
The homeless can be reminded that the chances of having a Christmas dinner, getting even just one present, and seeing any family members at all is a slim chance at best.
We can forget amidst our scurrying and shop-hopping from one to another that the commercialism of Christmas has created such pressure and an expectation within society which is unrealistic and unattainable for so many families.
Even though it is up to each family unit to place their own value on Christmas in order for it to be less about the presents and the cost of them, the commercialism is that bad Christmas items are up before Halloween! If that isn’t financial pressure or about money, then I’m the Queen of England.
Christmas is indeed a magical time of the year. It should be like that for everyone, but in reality, it isn’t. Since Christmas is a time of giving, it has a way of bringing out the best in people. Generosity is probably at it’s highest at this time of the year. Well, actually, I don’t have any stats on that. It is more my imagining that it could be, and should be if it’s not.
When you buy presents for your loved ones this Christmas, buy an extra one or two. Maybe one for a boy and one for a girl. Use your children’s age as a way of deciding what to buy. For example, if you have a child who is 11, then buy a present or two for children of the same age. Donate these extra presents to a charity who delivers presents and hampers to poor families so they can enjoy Christmas in the same way you want to celebrate with yours.
Some shops have a giving tree set up near their store entry. Others have tags you can purchase which help to raise funds which go towards the same giving of hampers and presents.
For every good thing which is offered to the community, there is always someone who tries to take advantage of the generosity of others. Those people are selfish and often don’t need the help they sought out. When they steal in this manner, they rob from a family who desperately does need the help, it reduces the help available for genuine cases, and it puts extra pressure on services who offer help for those who truly require food to feed their family, or money to pay a bill. I hope karma finds its way to such people. God forbid they ever need to access such help for real.
Christmas to me is not just about family and friends, quality and bonding time, and the joy on the kids’ faces when they see what we got each of them. It is about the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God who came to save us from our sins, from an eternity separated from God – spiritual resuscitation so-to-speak. I know the world has argued the date Christ was born, and it should be on another date, but does it really matter? Some countries celebrate it in January because of the discrepancy in the calculations of Scholars over the centuries. Who cares though? It is a day set aside to celebrate the greatest gift ever given to the people of Earth. Well it is for me. Being with family and friends, having fun and just enjoying each other’s company, and everything else that goes with this time of the year, a magical and special time, are all bonuses. Wonderful bonuses!
What you and I do at Christmas creates ripples into the community which lasts long after the sun sets on Christmas night. The ripples start with our families and travel far past its boundaries.
With Christmas Day less than a week away, let’s make sure the magic is spread far and wide. May it sparkle all day long!
From me to you, many blessings this Christmas and New Year, and may they follow you throughout 2018!
And Happy Birthday Jesus!