It is instructive that the three Kings who came to see Jesus in the manger brought with them gifts to show love and to defer to a king they consider higher spiritually and otherwise. This has remained our tradition as Christians expectedly over the years. Respect to whom it is due. Gifts to nobles and simple persons alike. Thankfulness in gift giving to friends and family and, more importantly, to people in need. That is the true spirit of Christmas.
Jesus Christ was throughout his life in the forefront of giving, helping, and imparting words of wisdom. Being Christian is to be Christ-like and follow his example. He was kind and giving. He spoke words of comfort to many and preached the gospel of forgiveness, love, and peace. He was mostly with the poor and shared in their lifestyle, their joys, and their grief. He gave everything he had and ultimately gave his life for us to have eternal life.
Today, I am stupefied by our abrasive greed and primitive acquisition. We want to amass wealth for our great grandchildren and end up being blindsided by greed frothing at the mouth and bullish in trying to acquire everything available even if we do not need it.
There are so many opportunities for us to give to less endowed family members, strangers, to those in need. But I guess a lot of times when people become rich, their noses are stuck in the air, and they become too heavy with money to be able to give. It’s too much trouble.
Only recently, I met a gentleman who worked for a top senator at the National Assembly. His tales were so terrible that they could have come out of a fictional fairy tale. Sadder still was the fact that this Senator was female in a senate many years ago. She had so much in her store, he said. Onions, cartons of food. She was not generous, and they often just stayed in her store and rotted or expired. She threw them away, and he said she could not even give her drivers. The tale of the unexpected. This is not to take away from the many other senators who are doing well in giving. But I digress.
There are so many opportunities for us to give to less endowed family members, strangers, to those in need. But I guess a lot of times when people become rich, their noses are stuck in the air, and they become too heavy with money to be able to give. It is too much trouble.
How much of your physical gifts have you shared? To widows, to students who can’t pay their fees, to street urchins, to your neighbours, to people who have offered a kind word or deed? When was the last time you gave anyone anything? No, I don’t mean your husband or your wife, nor do I mean your children or relations. I mean giving to others. What about giving of your time? Your space or even a listening ear. Everything is not about money. Sometimes, your gift is just to listen to a troubled soul. Someone who just wants to talk. It is a powerful gift. When you listen to people who just need to talk to someone, it just might be a saving grace. You may be pulling that person out of depression or even from suicide ideation.
There are too many people in the world who look like they are alright, but they are not. Call that sister of yours who calls no one. Be the bigger person. Call her. She may no longer even have the wherewithal to call anyone, which may mean a severe case of depression. Check on your children. Don’t say they also ought to be checking on me. You do not know their situation. Call that old friend who you have not heard from for a while. You may have just made him very happy. Visit an old people’s home, visit an elderly couple or an elderly person. These gifts are so potent during the holidays because visits and gifts are often exchanged at this time, but believe me, many people have no one to receive from. This is when your gift really means a lot to those who get them.
The members of St Vincent de Paul in the Catholic Church where I belong often do seasonal give-aways from the contributions of kind-hearted individuals. We are encouraged to contribute at Easter in cash or kind. As Mother Theresa often admonishes, if you want to give, do not give your useless clothes with holes in them that no one can use. Give decent old clothes. Not a broken blender or a dead sweater. Give measures of rice, a bottle of palm oil. If you don’t know where to give or have no time, seek out St Vincent de Paul society in any Catholic Church near you. They would take it to orphanages and IDP camps on your behalf. Our mantra is “some go to the mission by going, and others give to mission by going.”
I am overwhelmed when I walk into a distribution point in church by St Vincent de Paul. Christians of all denominations, Muslims, other religions. As long as you come, you will get a pack of rice, some cooking oil, and other condiments.
You might even get a pair of fancy shoes or a T-shirt. All our donations are distributed, and anyone can benefit. You neither have to be Christian or even Catholic.
The gift of giving is what we imbibe at Christmas and more importantly the birth of Christ. One whose selflessness gave us our faith.
May this Christmas open our eyes to the power of giving. Amen
It does not have to be a lot. Don’t say but I don’t have. A little shaving of what you have is called the widow’s mite. Let us all pull someone up this Christmas. Compliments of the Season.