OK, so it's hustle and bustle time…. Christmas approaches. How are we going to make this Christmas different from the last ones? How can we make Christmas meaningful amidst all the tantalizing stuff we see on the shelves? Sometimes it's so overwhelming. Maybe we need to just take a step back in our gift giving and look at life from the outside in and what special gift would be appropriate for each one according to their heart's desires. Ah, you have to get close to people to see what that might be you say…….
I'd like to share a story with you. I have been to the country of Haiti as a missionary three times in my younger years. I remember after returning from one trip, getting into a conversation with someone about the ghettos in New York City and how there was a Haitian community there. The comment of my friend was "how can they live in such terrible conditions with extreme heat and no air conditioning, open to the street, and only cold water coming out of a faucet." My, comment to her is that "everything is relevant. If you saw the conditions they live in in their country, just having running water, even if it is cold, is a huge improvement." I remember seeing the stick huts with mud floors and palm branch roofs. I remember the pallets for sleeping on the floors of those huts, side by side with exposure to wind, rain, and mosquitos carrying malaria. I remember how they spent an entire day, gathering enough things to sell or trade so that they could eat a meal that same day. I remember the lack of choices, sickness without doctors and little food to eat. And I remember that even though they lived a meager lifestyle, when there was an event or gathering, they could always be found celebrating, singing, dancing, & playing their simple instruments of music. As I got to know the people of Haiti, I found them to be joyous for life despite it's hardships and the individual creativity and uniqueness of each person as I came to know them personally.
I remember returning home and looking around me at my life in the United States and wondering if all the choices we have was a blessing or a curse. Wondering if any of us would be so grateful for what we had that we would sing and dance and celebrate just that single blessing. Wondering if the whining and complaining I hear about what we do and don't have, comparing ourselves to someone else, would ever change to gratefulness.
I'm not wanting to do another exhortation on being thankful. I would challenge you as you begin to shop for gifts, what is the dream or desire in the heart of the one you are buying for that could be touched by a gift that would encourage and strengthen them as a person? What do they love so much that they would jump at the chance to pursue that journey. What don't they have that you could supply simply by encouraging them in their identity to continue to be who they were created to be; or even to find the adventure of their life they were destined to carry. Maybe you don't have the money to buy what they would really want, or maybe you have someone that is really difficult to buy for. But you could get them a gift that is simply symbolic of what they love and who they are, a sentiment that you see and care.
In this fast paced world of multi-tasking, perhaps it's more important to give a gift that affirms to someone that you see their uniqueness, their dreams and their hearts desires. So you'll have to look to get to know who they really are. Perhaps that is their gift to you. Maybe time together on a common interest or at least talking about it for lunch. Allegorically speaking, we're all gardens waiting to be planted, nurtured and harvested; much like the herbal ones we nurture. My prayer for you this Christmas is that you give the gift that nurtures the spirit in each one and that you may receive the same.
Over 40 years of Herbal and nutritional experience.