Leading up to Christmas, I found myself influenced by different instincts and feelings of obligations. This made me wonder just how close to the spirit of Christmas they really were, and how far I had drifted from the true spirit of Christmas.
This year, my earthly instinct was to plan ahead for Christmas shopping, get all my wrappers and other decorative materials ready, and make sure I was prepared for every gift exchange and party that I was going to attend, and that the gift I gave would be satisfactory to the recipient. That met, at least a a social level, all my obligations as a polite human being.
The ‘religious’ obligation made sure I attended a Christmas service at the correct time, and as I was going alone, that I would find some good friends to sit with. I would attend the whole service dutifully, sing the familiar hymns, take Communion, and wish peace to everyone around me, including many newcomers.
But isn’t there more to Christmas than giving gifts, attending parties and showing face at church? It appeared my spiritual needs had taken a back seat in the hustle and bustle of it all. It’s made me reflect, in the precious few hours of time I had to myself, where I am and where I really should be going.
For Christians, the ultimate Gift has already been given to us, and everything we have on this earth cannot compare to it. So we don’t need to be transfixed on the gifts we give and receive to other people, even if we feel socially obliged to keep up with the Joneses.
The answer hit me this Boxing Day, when I received 2 messages from people I used to ‘minister’ to. I use that word loosely as I was an occasional counsellor for the first person many years ago. I also brought a friend to the Alpha course a couple years back. Reading their updates, I was touched to see how they have progressed in their walks with God.
And then I saw the pattern: Whenever I start to think that I’ve slackened in my faith, God sends me a reminder that I have played a part, in my own little way, and that I am not irrelevant in His big plan. It encourages me to continue seeking the Truth and to discard my old way of thinking.
Thus, receiving these uplifting messages from people I have helped has been the most meaningful gift to me this Christmas. I am grateful to R and Y for reminding me of the ultimate Gift that we all have been given, and how we too can also help others to receive it.