The hustle-bustle of pre-Christmas commercialism sometimes has a negative influence on how readily we throw ourselves into the spirit of the season. Malls are crowded, cash registers are ringing and parking lots are bumper-to-bumper with tradition.
While we all know that gifts from the heart are treasured more than something selected in haste or obligation, receiving is not always as fulfilling as giving. Some families are financially well-set; others are challenged more, and as the middle class sinks into oblivion the struggles are more emphatic. Every dollar counts and there isn’t always an abundance of leisure time to hand-craft a gift or devote time and resources to baking up sweet treats or bottling jam, jelly or relishes!
Last year it was a surprise to see envelopes resting on the boughs rather than a clutter of wrapped and beribboned boxes under the Christmas tree where we visited on Boxing Day. Teens and tweens were already engrossed in hand-held technologies – and the adults were hoping for a quieter time than the morning previous. Several sparkly gifts were carried in from the trunk of the car – and the exchange of parcels was begun.
The host presented his envelopes – and inside was a sincere token of his loving heart. Certificates revealed that either a goat, some chickens, fresh water, mosquito netting or a start-up kit for school had been donated on our behalf to worthy communities where they would be received with delight. Regardless of where we live or what circumstances we enjoy, there is always someone else who has less and actually needs more.
This year, if you feel so inclined and your pocketbook allows, gift a couple of chickens or something more robust. Consider the versatility and significance of a valuable goat; don’t just bleat with good intentions.