Saturday, 19 December 2015

What Christmas Means to Me

I grew up in a Christian family and we have always celebrated Christmas. Incidentally, my father's birthday falls on Christmas eve and every year the family (sometimes immediate, sometimes extended) would meet for meal. The meal always included a turkey, though I have never found out the reason behind this tradition. Sometimes there was a log cake, but without fail, we would give gifts to one another. Even when I was in primary school, my mother would give my brother and me some money and bring us to shop for gifts for family members. Christmas has always been a season for giving to me.

Since I started reading more books and blogs last year, I realised that I had been rather microscopic in my giving. A number of inspiring mothers bake cookies for their neighbours. Others bring their children and go out to streets to look for poor people to bless. Still others have organised movements such as Operation Christmas Child in the UK, where gifts are packed into shoeboxes and given to the needy. All these while, I have been giving gifts to mainly my family members and close friends. I felt I could do more.

This year, Lyn and I towed the children off on a mission trip, where we knew we would have the opportunity to sing carols and bring cheer to the villagers. The children were roped in to hand gifts to the villagers as we carolled and both of them were responsible in the task.

We also packed some clothes to give the villagers since we knew that they needed the clothes more than we did. Little An received a soft toy on our flight and a villager took it from her stroller to pacify her baby. When I asked An if we could give the toy away to the baby, she said yes. I was glad we could do this little bit to cheer someone up.

During the trip, we had some time for sightseeing as one of the days was a public holiday and schools were closed. While we were at a tourist attraction and there was a stop where we could make bookmarks, cards or journals, the children enthusiastically thought of who they could make gifts for. They created pretty bookmarks. I took a picture of a bookmark that J made for my aunt and sent it to her. Her reply showed that she was touched. Each bookmark cost only 50 baht (SGD2) but I witnessed how a sincere gift could be so powerful. We would probably allocate some time this coming week to make bookmarks and cards for our neighbours and friends.

I was also impressed by the thoughtfulness of my friend's daughter. She is only nine years old, but she wrote notes and made flowers to strangers to bless them. One evening, we were dining at a restaurant and there was a couple who was hearing impaired next to us. She observed that they were communicating via sign language and promptly gave them a Christmas note with a sweet smile. That to me, is the spirit of Christmas - to be sensitive to the needs all around us and to respond to them.

Christmas to me is also about the Giver. "For God so loved the world He gave His only child, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16. Jesus came in a humble manner to the world so as to redeem us from our sins. I pray for a closer walk with Him and may He use me as an instrument for His glory.

I will end off this post with the lyrics of two of my favourite Christmas songs.

1) Christmas isn't Christmas
Till it happens in your heart
Somewhere deep inside you
is where Christmas really starts
So give your heart to Jesus
You'll discover when you do
That it's Christmas, really Christmas for you

2) We are the reason that He gave His life
We are the reason that He suffered and died
To a world that was lost He gave all He could give
To show us the reason to live
I finally found the reason for living
It's in giving every part of my heart to Him
In all that I do, every word that I say
I'll be giving my all just for Him

This post is part of a blog train hosted by Danessa of Prayerfull Mum. You may click on the link below to read about what Christmas means to 13 other families.

PrayerFull Mum

Next up on the blog train is Angie.

Angie is an educator at heart and by profession. She blogs mainly on how she engages her 3 kids with hands on activities especially the Visual Arts. Now she's slowly including her endeavours in running, her spiritual journey and more. Do pop by Growing Hearts to see what Christmas means to her family.


Anonymous said...

I also wrote on that song, Christmas isn't Christmas till it happens in your heart. : ) Glad to see how you all benefitted from the mission trip. May your family continue to bask in the Lord's grace!

Pea said...

Thanks for your comment. :) Blessings to your family too.