Meri Kirimete

As we go into the Christmas period, it’s hard not to think about what this festival has come to mean to the majority of people. As Christians and Non-Christians alike seek meaning in the holiday period, they find a gargantuan industrial complex sitting right outside their door, ready to sell them more stuff to make them happy. The result is a Christmas where many of us gorge ourselves on products but are malnourished spiritually, suffocated by consumerism but thirsty for something more.

Ironically, it is here in the west, surrounded by wealth and plenty, that we experience the worst kind of poverty of all; loneliness. Compared to developing countries, our suicide, depression and mental health statistics are appalling. We live in cities of millions of people, and we are lonelier that we have ever been. Families are falling apart, and we no longer speak to out neighbor. Our relationships have become more and more commercial. We have started to forget what it means to truly exist in community, from the level of the nuclear-family to the wider community around us.

I love being generous, but only when it is heartfelt and spontaneous, a result of thoughtfulness and love. For this reason, I hate the pressure and expectancy surrounding Christmas shopping. I’m not sick of giving people gifts, but I am sick of wasting hard-earned cash that could be better spent on quality time with my family, friends, and those in need in the community. Inevitably, everyone winds up stressed out and tired on Xmas day, they open their presents, and then they disappear to a corner of the house in order to play with their new toy or gadget.

My Dad and I have decided that from this Christmas on, no more gifts! All money will be spent on quality family time – going out for dinner, coffees etc – and on those who go without during this Christmas period.

I don’t know what Jesus thinks of Christmas, but I do know that the greatest gift he gave his friends and followers was his time. He loved just being with people, connecting with them, whether it was in front of a crowd or during the intimacy of a meal.

My prayer for us all is that this Christmas we are able to look past the ‘stuff’ that clogs the spiritual arteries of our lives, and take time to really connect with those around us. We may just find rewards far richer than any available at the local mall.

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~ by humblemonkey on December 21, 2007.

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