Christmas is a time for smiles, exchanging gifts and celebrating life; a time for peace and goodwill; for mercy and forgiveness; a time for family and friends getting together; a time to rest and refresh – and so much more on.
I personally enjoy the year-end break because it allows me to refresh and get set for the next challenging year. Others will have different reasons: Some will look forward to the parties, the extra food and the special treats, and I guess many, many children will be dreaming about getting presents.
Having been around for many years, I realise Christmas will come and go; and we’ll soon be back repeating the happenings of last year, and the year before and, and - and.
I’ve always been a dreamer; always thinking of possibilities to make ours a better world. Perhaps we can all make it more memorable this time around – like a Christmas with a purpose. Imagine if we got into the habit of considering the purpose behind our actions this season; with the specific intention of not allowing this rapidly changing world to force unwanted changes upon us. We too often follow the crowds and when we fail to establish a solid foundation on which to build for the future we get rushed into following other peoples’ agendas as we lose sight of the true purpose behind our actions.
We can start by mediating on the purpose for celebrating the coming Christmas; surely if we find enough good reasons to celebrate it as lavishly as the world does every year then it may be possible to have Christmas every day. Perhaps then we’ll find a way to make genuine lasting happy memories, and to do this continuously.
Let those who have lots of money do as they please with it, but for the ordinary folk like myself let’s do two important things: reduce frivolous spending, and let’s help our children understand what Christmas actually means to our families, regardless of what others are doing.
Instead of following the crowds, think carefully about your purpose for exchanging gifts, and be especially careful about buying things that you want more than what the recipients may want. Or buying expensive presents for your children that are likely end up in the bin or in the cupboards a few weeks after Christmas.
By getting more purposeful during this period you will find it easier to start the New Year in the same vein. Taking into the New Year this habit of doing things with purpose, you’ll be helping the world to displace the spirit of entitlement that is growing out of control – even if it’s just a little. If you’ve been practising it over December you find it so much easier to build the habit of aiming to help rather than try to please people. For example buying expensive gifts that put a strain on your finances may please your children for a while, but it will not help you; nor will it help the child or your family in the long term. So, going into next year, doing my child’s homework or fighting his battles for him is not likely to help him; it may please him in the short term but it may bring heaps of suffering to his life in the long term. Helping with their homework is altogether a different matter than doing it for them. Let this then be the beginning or your purpose to sort out mentally the difference between helping and pleasing people.
I could never understand or accept the need for creating the story of Santa and his flying reindeer, and I see no reason to justify such lies. Perhaps this can be the beginning of your purpose to end any involvement with fake news of any kind, which may please some people in the short term, but it is destroying society.
There is another family nightmare that comes from confusing quality for life with standard of living. These two things are altogether different, but when life rushes us along and we fail to check why we do what we do, we somehow get trapped into living to meet other peoples’ agendas and expectations. We try too hard to fit into the commercialised norm; and get trapped into financing a lifestyle and image that actually reduces the real quality of our lives.
Unfortunately Christmas has been heavily commercialised and misrepresented in many ways, and this traps many people into starting the New Year with more debt and pressure than is necessary – and this joyous time should not be like this.
Christmas should not be an escape from reality, but a refreshing time to make us stronger to deal with the reality of life.
Let me wish everyone more smiles, and great celebrations. May there also be more sincere smiles, not only because you’ve had too much to drink. Let’s exchange gifts and give our best, all for a good purpose. Perhaps we can all go a little further to help our troubled land and purpose in our hearts to work for peace and goodwill among all people. Let us then encourage the attitudes of mercy and forgiveness, and we’ll all be better off for this. I think then our family get-togethers, and times of rest will then be more refreshing because the true spirit of Christmas will help us to displace the negativity that keeps coming into our lives.
But who am I to tell people what to do over Christmas? I’m no one special; just a dreamer. I know that most people are likely to do exactly as they did last year, and the year before, and, and - and. And why do I even have the nerve to think that my view of Christmas is the right one? I do think it’s the right one, but we all have different views; so if you feel the need to dump this message, I respect that. However, please consider that you can even find a good purpose with which to do that: purpose to save your environment and don’t print a copy to throw in the bin, rather use your delete button – it’s somewhere on your keyboard.
A very Merry Christmas to you all; and as we say in South Africa, “Happy, happy 2018”
Franklin D Roosevelt Primary School - July
Maragon Private School - August
Curro Aurora Private School - July