Featured on the Hong Kong Economic Journal (December 28, 2013)
“Mummy, I don’t need any Christmas presents this year. I hope Santa gives gifts to children in the Philippines instead”
I heard this from one of the parents whose child comes to JEMS and it warmed my heart. To have children think about others more than themselves, this is a true blessing.
Giving is better than getting
Every time I take children to do community service, I tell them this:
Getting = makes you happy
Giving = makes someone else happy => makes you happy = makes 2 people happy
When we get a gift, it may make us happy but when we give a gift, it makes someone else happy and we should also get happiness from seeing how someone else is happy. So according to my mathematics, giving is better than getting!
Being thankful is a trait that most people would deem important. It involves looking at what you have presently and being content. So often, we look at what we don’t have and complain about it instead of looking at what we do have and being content with it. And even if a person doesn’t have anything materially, there are still many things to be thankful for because the best things in life are free: family, love, hugs, kindness, health and life! If Christmas is more about reflecting on being thankful for what we have, it won’t revolve around getting more gifts!
The Giver and not the gifts
In class the other day, when I asked children what they think of first when they think of Christmas, most of them answered with ‘presents’. I love buying presents for others and receiving presents but if we focus more on the gift rather than the giver, we have missed the point of Christmas. If my mum gives me a scarf I love and I treasure the scarf more than I treasure my mum and the heart of love she has in getting me a gift, I have missed the point.
Christmas is a great time to reflect on what we’re thankful for but I think it’s equally if not more important to focus on WHOM we are thankful for. To celebrate the people in our lives and to be thankful for whom they are to us and the love we share. At the end of the day, material things will come and go, but relationships are the things that will stay. I look forward to spending my Christmas with family and friends and celebrating the relationships we have.
And the greatest Giver of all things is God Himself. God is the one who gives us life and salvation. As we look at the true meaning of Christmas, it is about God the Father, giving the greatest and dearest gift of all to us – His Son, Jesus. I pray that this Christmas would be a time that every family focuses on be thankful for each other and to God Himself.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” – James 1:17