‘Tis the season for charity, but wouldn’t it be nice if this goes on all year long?
NOW that the space beneath the Christmas tree is empty and the wrapping papers have been ripped and discarded, the frenetic pace of Christmas shopping can be considered to be finally, truly, over. And for those who have been running around for a whole month trying to find the perfect present for all their loved ones, who can blame them for being exhausted?
Giving — truly giving — whether it be money, affection or time, is not necessarily the easiest thing to do. But as the veterans of Christmas giving will attest to, it gets easier with practice.
But the commercial side of Christmas aside, we would do well to remember that the true spirit of Christmas is about love; about trying to make a difference in this world. Although Christmas is only one day, it signifies a change in circumstances for man — a period of enlightenment and redemption.
This is the seed-time in which people are supposed to consider how they can make the world a better place, how they can alleviate the pain and suffering of their fellow humans. For, the truth is, there are many people out there who are unlucky enough in life in this holiday season to have no meaning beyond its religious one: and for some, not even that. Because these are the people who, by luck or circumstance, find themselves living lives for which there are no holidays, no weekends, no time off from the bad days.
Giving can, and should, be more than just putting something nice in a box, wrapping it up, tying a ribbon around it, and handing it over to someone. And it can, and should, be more than just within the holiday season. Giving can come in the form of sponsoring a child through school or university; paying for spectacle frames and lenses for the poor; going to orphanages, old folks homes, hospitals and prisons every week to provide conversation and companionship to those who have been abandoned by society; organising empowerment groups that give people the opportunity to find worth in themselves; fighting injustice by providing support and protection to the weak and helping them stand up against bullies and those who would rob them; and finding ways to make sure that soup kitchens and shelters are perpetually funded.
Different endeavours will demand different commitments from the givers. For some, it might be one day in a month, for others it might be half a day every week. What is important is that the spirit of giving should not live only during the holiday season.