Giving to those not in need

At Christmas time, we hear so much about giving to those in need. And we should. We should absolutely be giving to those in need at this time of year and all year round.

I read a commentary about the Christmas story the other morning and it really stuck with me.

We all know the baby Jesus was given expensive gifts by the Magi when he was born. Yet what good were these gifts to him really? Did he really need them?

Well, some hypothesise that these were used to pay the way for him and Mary and Joseph as they fled from Herod’s decree to kill all boy children under the age of two.That’s just a theory though, and I’m not sure I subscribe to it.

What if he didn’t need those gifts at all? What if they were given simply because of who he was and the fact that the Magi knew he was a king and so deserving of gifts such as these?

I know people who base their gift giving on what a person needs. And that’s all good and well – we shouldn’t be wasteful and spend money on things to give to people who don’t need it.

Right?

But what if we should? What if the purpose of giving a gift is to honour that person? What if giving a gift is more about saying to that person ‘You are valuable. You are worth bringing wonderful gifts to’? What if their ‘need’ is none of our business? What if we should just give to people anyway, regardless of how much they do or don’t have?

Jesus really didn’t need gold, perfume, or spice, so why bring gifts to him at all?

We give gifts because of what it says about the person we are giving to. We give gifts to show our love and the value we place on them as a person. We shouldn’t not give to someone simply because it looks like they don’t ‘need’ it.

They may not ‘need’ it in terms of material possessions but they may ‘need’ it in terms of feeling loved, valued and thought of.

What do you base your gift giving on?

 

How do you treat people?

As we own and operate a small business, we both tend to wear many hats. For me, it means I answer the phone, reply to emails, write articles as well as my own column, I’m asked to be the guest speaker at clubs and groups, I take photos, I judge competitions, and I deliver bulk drop offs of our publications to local businesses.

And it’s interesting to note the different ways I am treated by others, depending on what hat I am wearing.

Most notable is the difference between the ‘public’ appearances and when I am delivering.

When I’m the speaker, I am treated with respect – given meals, drinks, sat at the best table, introduced with fanfare and generally fussed over.

When I am the deliverer, I am treated with little regard – not everyone says thank you, or looks up from their desk, or smiles or is even very polite. Generally, I am invisible.

Isn’t it interesting? I am being treated according to what people think my ‘station in life’ is, to use an old fashioned term.

I am not judged or spoken to because of who I am, but rather for what I am doing.

I’m still the same. I’m still me regardless of what activity I’m currently engaged in.

Just because I’m delivering a bundle of local community newsmagazines to a shop counter, doesn’t mean I suspend my ability to be articulate or intelligent and knowledgeable about a subject.

At Christmas time, it’s easy to get so caught up in our own busyness that we forget the people across the counter are people just like us and deserving of respect.

This Christmas season, how about we treat those in ‘service’ to us, indeed, everyone we come across, exactly as we would like to be treated – as a person. Full stop. End of story. No qualifier needed.

Feeling ‘bah humbug’ this Christmas?

You probably know by now that I love Christmas. I love the rush, the entertaining, the present wrapping, the buzz in the air. I love it all.

My husband, though, being not so keen on the rush and busyness of the season, was lamenting it’s excess and the fact that most of the time, the reason for the season is not even mentioned.

It’s true, isn’t it? Christmas in the western world is a time of excess. We spend too much, eat too much, drink too much, and the whole point of Christmas gets lost along the way, if it’s even remembered at all. It can be hard to see how any of what we currently do at Christmas time has any relationship to what happened in that stable over 2000 years ago.

So, how do we get around that if we want to remember the real reason we celebrate it but not boycott the whole event?

I’m not sure what the answer is for each individual but here’s how I look at it.

When we rush around looking for that perfect gift for a loved one, we are honouring the gift humanity was given on the first Christmas.

When we worry if there is enough food or that the meat is overcooked, we are demonstrating we care about the people we are feeding and want to give them the best there is.

When we make up another bed on the lounge room floor, we are opening our home and showing love to others – something that the person who was born at Christmas talked a bit about.

When we don’t sit down all day because we are on our feet ensuring everyone has enough drinks and food, we are serving others – another thing that the same person talked a bit about.

When we go on a mad cleaning frenzy in preparation for our guests, we are really saying that their comfort and giving them pleasant surroundings is important to us.

We can find the real meaning of Christmas in everything we do if we look at it a different way. It’s all honouring the greatest gift giver of all.

For those who feel bothered by the over-commercialism, the tinsel, the secular emphasis on a fat man in a red suit, try shifting your focus and instead of grumbling and lamenting the lack of acknowledgement of the real reason for the season, embrace the festivities.

What better way to say thank you for the ultimate gift we were given than loving, serving, laughing and thoroughly enjoying ourselves?

Why so rude, people?

At this end of the year, like many others, we are doing the rounds of school awards nights, presentation evenings and dance concerts.

One thing I have noticed that is worse than ever this year is the rudeness of others. At nearly all events we have attended, there have been people talking in front of us, behind us, beside us. And these aren’t always kids, in fact, more often than not, it’s adults.

Now, my family will tell you that I have no qualms in telling people around me who are talking when they shouldn’t, to be quiet. I try to say it politely, of course, but it is hard tell people nicely to shut their traps, show some respect and give consideration to those on the stage.

What is wrong with people? Is everyone really so self involved and self focused that they can’t join the dots between them wanting to see their child, and everyone else wanting to see their own? How can grown adults not get that their behaviour directly impacts on everyone else’s ability to see their own child up on stage? And you know what, those people are the first to complain if anyone interferes with their line of sight or ability to hear their child’s name called.

Call me old fashioned, call me intolerant but it’s just plain rude.

And while I’m on the bandwagon of rude people, tell me why an oldish woman feels the need to stop me on my walk with my children at 6 o’clock at night to tell me that my child should be wearing a hat and is severely sunburnt? I wanted to thank her for making my child feel even more self conscious of the way her beautiful alabaster skin turns bright red at the slightest bit of exercise but I restrained myself…just.

Honestly, where have common respect and consideration for our fellow man gone?

Rant over.