Monday, December 27, 2010

Thoughts on Christmas Gifts

Our Christmas celebrations are just about finished. Most of my gifts have been distributed and the festive activities are largely over. I had a good time - I got to visit with family and friends, received some nice presents, enjoyed too many delicious seasonal treats and one of the newly released movies. I was able to treat my kids and their dad to a nice Christmas dinner at a local restaurant, and give them some frivolous gifts as well as the traditional underwear and socks. I often feel short of the ready, but really I am blessed to have a good job and the good health to earn a good living.

I had some free time this year that I do not normally have, so I was able to volunteer at one of the local holiday dinners. It was a real eye opener (yeah, I know that's not an original thought!). We all know, or think we know, what it's like to be without. We don't know much. I
was not on the serving line, but I understand that more than 1,000 meals were served. There was plenty of food and drink, with only a few items running out. Gifts were another thing altogether. Most years at this dinner there have been gifts for children an adults. This year there was almost nothing for adults, and not much for teens. The toys did not quite run out, but they nearly did. For the children who came through the line last there was not much to choose from although at the beginning there seemed to be so many toys they would never run out.

There are a few people on my yearly Christmas list who are not in my immediate family. They were added over the years as their circumstances changed and I thought their holidays would be better if they had just a few more gifts. Over the year I think about them when I assemble my gifts and try to choose something suitable. As I have given them more thought they have become dearer to me. Scientists are finding out amazing things about the human brain. One of the most interesting to me is the idea that the stimuli go both ways - a frightening thought makes the heart beat faster, but the heart beating faster also makes the brain feel anxious. I think it works the same for gifts and compassion. I know I will be adding more gifts to my bin suitable for the children and adults who have so much less than I do and giving them and their situation more thought during the year. I hope you will too.

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