What is Your Gift?

  • Category: Opinion
  • Published: Tuesday, 18 December 2018 13:54
  • Written by Bryan T. Clark

xmas boxAs a kid, we are told to go to bed early on Christmas Eve because Santa Claus doesn’t visit houses if little children are awake. In our PJ’s, we traipsed off to bed because we believed Santa would soon be here.

To think Santa Claus flies around the world and visits every house on Christmas Eve would be like believing in magic or miracles. Children can process things in the simplest form. Yes, we can call it naïve, or that they haven’t yet been exposed to the hard truths in life. As adults, we should all be just a little jealous.

As we grow up, we learn and understand about the good and the bad that exists in the world. Because of the internet, we are exposed to so much every single day, including the truth and the untruth. For some people, their truth can be the TV channel they are watching, the church they attend, or the people surrounding them.

But, how do you know the truth if you have nothing to compare it against? I’ve traveled the world and I know I live in one of the wealthiest countries in the world. In other countries, I’ve visited villages that have far less than I do, and yet the people there pull out all the stops to ensure that I am welcome. My skin color or sexuality is of little importance to them. They often offer me the last of whatever they may have, believing I am worthy of such grand and generous offerings. This act of kindness is their truth, not mine. My truth is that it is hard for me to receive their gifts as I believe I am better off than they, and it should be me who is bringing such offerings to them.

A woman in Thailand once told me that to reject such offerings is telling the people their gift is not worthy enough and that it is insufficient to you. In Mexico, to not look at an elder who is talking to you is a sign of disrespect. I learned in Greece the Greek culture values the elderly. They believe older members have wisdom they’ve gained throughout their years, leading society to treat them with respect. You see the respect given to them everywhere, even by children. It is amazing to watch.

Whose truth is the truth? Today, we live in a world where the term fake news can apply to so much of what we hear every day from those sources we once upon a time viewed as credible.

How does one stay sane in a world of chaos, especially during this time of year? While we all understand good physical health, it is just as important to keep tabs on our mental health. It is important to understand what makes you happy, or at least, makes you smile. If you do, then ask yourself, if you are getting enough of it, or what you can do to get more of it? I am a firm believer your moods and feelings can be influenced by the people that are around you. So, surround yourself with positive people. Of big importance for me is doing something nice for someone else. There is no act of kindness too small. There are things we may do in life that will make a world of difference for someone else. Maybe we won’t even know we had an effect on the person. To offer generosity and compassion for others will always come back to you, rarely in the same form it was given, but it will come back to you.

In closing, be a believer in Santa Claus and that good things come to good people, even adults. Let your gift to the poor, the marginalized, and the disenfranchised, be one of support, generosity, and kindness during this holiday season and throughout the New Year.