by Dave O’Hara
Christmas is well and truly upon us at this stage, not just with the Christmas ads but with Black Friday and the mayhem it brought across many countries. It was interesting in the aftermath that there was somewhat less of a mayhem in Ireland on Black Friday mostly attributed to people buying online rather than flocking to shopping centres.
Of course in America there seemed to be plenty of mayhem. I was struck by the video put online of a woman grabbing a blender of all things from the grasp of a child. it is a total misrepresentation of the season of Christmas but one we are becoming all more familiar with.
Presents are a huge part of Christmas and looking at the space under the Christmas tree slowly filling up in the weeks leading up to the big day is really exciting especially for children. However, for some of us at least, the real meaning of presents seems to be lost. Media, the powerful force it is tells us that presents are the necessary exemplification of the care or love we have for the recipient whereas they should really be a token of our relationship with another. I am for sure a perpetrator of overspending on a present or using a present to make up for the neglect I have had for a family member or friend in my life, a cover up to ‘make up’ for all of the missed opportunities or lack of care throughout the year.
At the same time I am a huge fan of the joy on a child’s face when ‘Santy delivers’ or when people embrace over receiving the perfect gifts from each other. Even with that, the gift doesn’t matter if you care enough for the other person, I’ve given many a terrible present over the years but it doesn’t matter, it’s merely a token of something much bigger. There is a popular video doing the rounds on social media again of a father giving his son and daughter an onion and banana for Christmas. Fair enough, they are quite young, but the video shows their unbridled joy at receiving these presents. Its confusing but at the same time it makes so much sense. The presents are an outward sign of an inner relationship so therefore what the present is is not a matter of concern. The present is a token or sign of something greater.
It’s more than easy to lose sight of what Christmas really means, media has us sussed there’s no doubt about it. Christmas, and Advent leading to it, is a time for Christ to be reborn into our lives. It is a time to celebrate who we have and what we have, the exchange of gifts is a big part of that, but we can’t let it define our celebration of Christmas. It’s gonna be a bumper Christmas in terms of consumer spending, the biggest in recent years. At the same time, Temple Street Children’s Hospital, that treats over 56,500 children every year, the biggest in Europe, continues to need donations. There are so many other causes similar to this that deserve our attention and support. Let’s give this Christmas, more generously than we ever have before, but let’s do it in the knowledge that we have received the biggest gift of all, Christ in our lives- the perfect context setter!