Christmas Feels

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There’s nothing like acts of generosity that cost you almost nothing to get you feeling good about yourself this Christmas!

One day I came home to find a Christmas hamper had been delivered to our door.

 I immediately fell to the ground and wept with gratitude that someone had thought to anonymously love us enough from a distance to deliver tinned ham and out of date shortbread to our family.

Once I had recovered from my outburst of appreciativeness I lugged the hamper inside and began to unpack the contents into the cupboard. (Imagine me in my spotless kitchen with my hair on point if you will.)

 It won’t surprise you to know that during the said unpacking of no brand groceries there was some dialogue taking place in my head. Why does my chest hurt? Why does this feel like an act of cowardice and unfriendliness? Why am I such an ungrateful cow?

Because we had just returned from India having sold our whole lives in Australia and so a few groceries were helpful to be sure. And someone had obviously observed our colossal heart ache and failure and thought we needed ….blessing. (shudder)

But what I really needed was someone to sit with me, to ask me if I was ok, to cry with me, to pray with me. Someone to know me.

And anyone that knows me would not send me Diet Coke.

Do we really care what people want or need?

Or do we care about feeling good about our generosity?

It’s a bit like that time I gave my left over pizza to a woman living on the street with her newborn baby.

We had filled our stomachs to overflowing at a pizza restaurant in Kolkata, but there were a few slices left. I don’t want to boast so I’ll try and say this humbly, but we decided that we could give the extra we had (once we had had far more than we needed) to someone in need.

I know right, I’m getting a mansion in heaven.

So we carried our pizza in a box all the way home, because we knew there was a woman who lived in the gutter with her family just outside our house.

We found her, a baby swaddled in a dirty rag and children playing in the gutter.

We warmly presented her with 3 slices of left over pizza, and damn, it felt good, what a rush. Is this what Jesus would do? I’m thinking yes, no doubt. #blessed

She sat there with a box made out of the same cardboard as her home and fed pizza to her children. Because she doesn’t have the luxury of being an ungrateful cow. But when I smiled triumphantly and turned my back to escort my family into our home, I wonder how she felt?

I had decided to be generous on my own terms, I had decided what she needed, it hadn’t cost me anything.

I didn’t want to know her.

It was an act of selfishness.

It was hurtful.

As I think of her now, I deeply wish I had taken the time to sit with her, to ask her if she was ok, to cry with her, to pray with her.

Sometimes our helping hurts.

So, let’s stop thinking that giving “things” is the answer.

Let’s not congratulate ourselves for our generosity.

Let’s know each other.

Let’s know God.

 

Blinkin Lights

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I showered after a day in the sun, marvelling at my browned oops that may just cause cancer later in life but oh well it’s the 70’s skin I dried myself, combed my wet hair and put my Christmas nightie on.

Christmas was so exciting. I twirled around the lounge room, my toes tangling in the shag pile carpet, it was good to be alive. My Dad agreed that this would be the night we would put our Christmas tree up. We waited in anticipation as Dad did the boring laborious Christmas tree assembly. I sat ready to offer assistance once things got a bit more interesting, like hanging ornaments or throwing shreds of tinsel on the tree that would clog the vacuum for the next 6 months. After what felt like an eternity of Christmas tree assembly, pine needle decoding and frustrated huffs we were ready. Ready for the lights.  I watched in awe as my Dad wound the string of lights around the tree. Predicting perfectly the length of lights he started at the bottom, painstakingly winding up and up and up until finally, he came to the end of the lights right at the top of the tree. Well done Dad!

My family gathered in the lounge room in excited anticipation.

“Bec, I think it’s your turn to turn the lights on this year.”

OMG OMG OMG

Springing to life I catapulted towards the power point, I grabbed the plug, thrust it in and turned on the switch with as much pomp and ceremony as I could muster. I swung around to gaze at the wonder of our Christmas lights and… nothing.

Nada.

Not a single light was working.

Oh dear, we forgot to check the lights before we dressed the tree.

Slightly deflated, Dad proceeded to undo his handiwork and I trudged off to bed.

Because back in the day, if just one globe on your string of Christmas lights wasn’t working, then the whole string wouldn’t shine. You would go through the painstaking process of checking each globe until you found the sick globe and fix it. Then you could enjoy the twinkling string of healthy lights.

Not like today. Today you just throw the bunch out and grab a new lot. Disposable lights. No one wants a dull globe ruining the party, get rid of it, move on.

Like dull people. People who are sick or hurting or broken are such a buzz kill. I guess it’s easier to discard them.

But I reckon the old string of lights are the kind of lights I want to belong to. The kind that notices if you have lost your shine, the kind that stops and waits if you are having a hard time, the kind that doesn’t treat you like you are disposable, the kind that makes you want to share your light.

Christmas lights, celebrating Christ.