Although these images may depict a very northern hemisphere Christmas season, they do infact decribe my experience this christmas. With the ridiculous summer flu coming to visit right in the festive season, the second image encapsulates the irony, drinking an icy-frappe whilst swaddling myself in scarves and jumpers. The first image is a picture of my desk which i decorated on Christmas Eve with beautiful paper baubles. I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas! Though mine was plagued by flu-yness, I still enjoyed not one but TWO delish christmas lunches. My best gift was 2 months of sponsership for my sponserchild Bayasalt – thankyou MA and PA! I hope you blessed someone this Christmas, I think Christmas is not about getting something, but giving something away, and the most powerful and beautiful Christmas you can ever have is when you ask, instead of something for yourself, asking for something for someone else. I sat down this year and thought about what I a) wanted and b) needed. My list of a’s grew and grew the more I thought about all the things that I could possibly have. My column b remained empty. I went through my list A and thought about each thing and slowly crossed everything off the list. When I really thought about it, it wasn’t what I wanted, it was the perception that I should want to want these things. In reality I don’t want more things to crowd my already burgeoning bookshelves. I don’t want or need that pack of 5 cd’s for $50. Suddenly I thought of something to put in my column b. The one thing I NEEDED was a new perspective. I needed to change my thought patterns. I didn’t want to stay in a mindset of blind entitlement. I don’t want to be conned into thinking that I ever DESERVED gifts. Gifts are undeserved and no one has a RIGHT to them, they are freely and lovingly given. A small but I believe vital part of the definition that has been forgotten.
So this year when my parents came to me asking me what I wanted, I bypassed the $250 art book and the $220 Harry Potter Boxed Set, I didn’t ask for that nice perfume that I had been cheekily sampling at the Body shop. Instead I took a deep breath and said, “I’m going to sponser a child this year. It would be great if you helped me out.” So come Christmas morning, I became santa, I handed out gifts so cheerfully wrapped and watched on as my family opened their many gifts. Quickly the piles of brightly coloured paper became useless as they sat on the floor, piles of books and toys scattered around the place and in someway I felt a little strange. I felt a little left out in a way, with no presents or things to unwrap; but looking back this has given me the perspective I need. For a moment, I had a mere glimpse of what 80% of the world feels like. I felt like an outsider looking in, like Charlie Bucket looking in the candy store just wishing for a single Wonka chocolate. But the difference here was that I CHOSE that perspective. None of those other 80% get that choice. Finally I open an envelope addressed to me that sat quietly and unassumingly at the base of the tree. A plain white envelope and inside it, a World Vision sponsership card. To think that through giving something so small and so practically insignificant as $43 a month that can take a persons life and give them a life that is no longer despairing but full of hope, promise and opportunity- what a crazy thought!
This made me smile and I sat there with my gift. So this Christmas is the Christmas that changed my perspective. Even though I felt admittedly a bit sad, admittedly a bit sulky, this was a Christmas that I hope I never forget. Because amongst the Christmas wrapping and the bon bons and the mad Christmas sales, there is never an excuse for forgetting others. Perhaps working the Christmas and boxing day sales weeks in retail has made me jaded but I think the Christmas spirit would be much stronger if no one bought presents. I think the Christmas spirit would be stronger if people acknowledged each other as real, feeling people, rather than a service box. I think the Christmas Spirit would be stronger if love and compassion were the gifts given in abundance rather than cheap leather bag imports in tacky 90’s peach. I wonder if anyone would have the courage to change their mindset and to challenge their own ideas/illusions of deserving gifts, because its an easy fascade to hide behind – afterall our culture hails it as truth. As I sat there on Christmas day, I have never felt so blessed. To think that in my world such an inconsequential amount of money can change the course of a life on the otherside of the world, now that is a gift.
So what is on the most recommended gifts list ever? – #1 A NEW PERSPECTIVE! Suitable for All Ages, Life changing guarentee!
So Merry Christmas for 2011 – I hope someone somewhere has the courage to change their thinking, then we can start on the world!