What better time to simplify our lives than during this busy season, which so greedily invites us to indulge and spoil ourselves and those around us. Don’t get me wrong. There is a lot to be said for a treat and a special gift, but sadly, the way that the media encourages us to indulge and spoil is purely looking to buying things, and more things, and just a few more. Things that we might like, but ultimately have no true meaning.
If we allow the media (particularly advertisements) to tell us that true love is only shown with this product, true happiness can only be achieved with this item, and your children will be bitterly disappointed if they do not get this-whatever-thing, then we have lost. Because disappointment is going to happen. The perfect Christmas (whatever that is anyway) or true happiness does NOT lie in any of these items to be given or received. Yes, we do all want to have a nice time. And giving and receiving gifts can be so much fun. But does it have to be 10 gifts per child, when they zoom out after having ploughed through number two? Does it have to be another tie or one more jacket? Does it have to be another cream or phone?
Yes, giving gifts can show love and care, but there comes a point when the gift is no longer out of love but pressure of feeling one HAS to give, even independent of what the other might need or want. How about giving the gift of time? This could come in the form of a weekend away, if there is the money to spend, or could be as cheap and simple as a special coffee date in a lovely little café around the corner with no phones on or no time pressure. It could be the commitment to loving more and giving more of our time in the form of helping with dishes, making a cup of tea in the morning, taking the kids out so the other half can just be, or even offering to babysit for the neighbour so the parent/s can go out and enjoy themselves. It does not have to be expensive to be special! It can be a home-made cake, a drawing, a simple card that lets the other know that we are thinking of them.
Let’s try not to –literally- buy into the Christmas craziness by believing our Christmas will only be special if we get or give xyz, because this is simply not true. It is a hard challenge as everything and lots of people around us tell us that we need and need and need. Well, I believe our Christmas will be special if there are cuddles around, if there is a relaxed atmosphere with enjoying each other’s company, with telling each other that we care and love, with sitting and playing a game, with making or receiving that phone-call when there is no family around, with a simple cup of coffee, enjoying looking at the fairy lights or watching the kids play. And in addition to that, it will be special as we think of the real meaning of Christmas, reading the special story of Jesus and looking back on what happened that night in a stable.
Thanks for listening.
Happy first Advent and happy home-decorating, if you are already onto that.