Presence is the best gift for the holidays

The holiday season is fast approaching, and it is supposed to be a time of joy for everyone. The reality is that for many it is not a happy time, it can be lonely and isolating. There are many people who do not have close family, those that have disabilities or mental and physical challenges that do not enable them to join in easily.

“We long to belong, and belonging and caring anchors our sense of place in the universe.”

Patricia Churchland

The Grinch is a story of someone who was shunned by society and became a recluse, turning resentment into anger and resulting in behaviour that would drive more people away. Pretending not to care, when in reality lonely and feeling unloved, his heart shrinking in a form of self-protection.

There are people in our workplaces and teams who for one reason or another, are excluded from the group. Maybe they are quieter and more introvert, maybe they do not join in the jokes or have become the figure of fun.

The same can be true in our communities where there are old people, those with disabilities and others who may be excluded in the planning of events, so that they are not accessible. They may say that they do not care – but is that true?

At this time of year, it is easy for people to run around thinking about the presents that they want to buy for their friends and family. It is wonderful to receive gifts and to give them. We often forget that the most valuable gift of all is the gift of our presence. Being together, spending quality time, laughing and playing, eating and drinking and reflecting over the last year.

We would urge you to stop and look around and see those people who may not have family and friends nearby or may not be able to afford to buy gifts, or who are too shy to say they are lonely. At this time of year, they will feel this more deeply. Can you take the time to be present with them, to invite and include them into your space?

We had a family tradition of always inviting all our ‘single friends’ to Christmas dinner. They varied in age from young teenagers to seventies. Each one had a story to tell and brought diversity and learning, added to the warmth and appreciation of the special celebration time.

In the words of Charlie Chaplin:

“We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity; more than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.”

If we think about the nativity scene, we can see that all people were welcomed. There were the three Kings (or Wise men) who arrived with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh and there were the poor shepherds, who did not come bearing gifts. One was not valued above the other.

Who will receive the true gift of your presence this year? It is the greatest gift of all.

“When you show kindness to another human being you start a ripple effect that has endless possibilities for the number of lives it can potentially impact.

Germany Kent

We thank you all for journeying with us this year, whether for a long time or a short time. We wish you all peace, rest and togetherness until we connect again next year!

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