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The Alternative Advent Calendar

  • Posted on December 20, 2018 at 8:51 am

Alternative Advent calendar 20Merry Midwinter’s countdown to Christmas with a difference!


The unexpected gift.

I have already mentioned various aspects of this idea several times during the course of this Alternative Calendar, but I don’t think that it can be overstated at any time of the year, let alone at the key point in our annual cycle when giving is so prominently in our thoughts. Midwinter/Christmas is traditionally the time to give of our time, goods, resources and love. We offer selfless acts of hospitality, money, hard work , time, care and thought more freely at this time of year than at any other.

Traditionally, Midwinter has always been a time of peace… a time to lay down one’s arms when weaponry was locked away – banned – and even hostile factions could come together – think of the iconic truce between the Germans and the Allied Forces during Christmas, 1914 – they were instinctively following an ancient tradition.

We may not now be at actual war (although there are far too many places on the planet that are) but we all experience problems and challenges with people we either do not like for some reason, have had differences of opinion with in the past, or simply do not know, but in our ignorance feel wary or suspicious of.

Today I want you to extend the hand of friendship to one of these people in your life. They are all just regular human beings going about their business, like you; struggling with such challenges as illness, exhaustion, lack of money, difficult jobs, oppressive employers and difficult or worrying relatives. There is enough prejudice and hostility in the world. There is no justification for it. Be the first to activate a change… to initiate something better… to break down the barriers of ignorance, suspicion, resentment and fear.

Yes, there are some people who, for no reason… no fault on their part or yours, you simply cannot take to. That is simply a fact of life. No one is asking you to be best buddies with everyone, but that is also no reason why you shouldn’t be courteous, considerate and offer a friendly smile, word or comment whenever you come into contact with them… no reason why you shouldn’t be aware if they are in distress and perhaps, just for once, need your company, time and support.

This Midwinter, let your inner light of friendship and care shine out of you. Choose someone you either do not know or do not particularly like. go out of your way to speak to them kindly, write and personally give to them a Christmas card (doesn’t matter if they do not share your religious beliefs – we all understand something kindly and sincerely meant), or find a very simple and inexpensive gift to pass on to them – the gift of light is a really good choice and so appropriate for this time of year, so perhaps a couple of coloured candles tied with a silk ribbon? Simple but useful, appealing and topical. It isn’t the item itself, it is what it represents.

You never know, in the process you might just discover an absolute gem of a person who becomes a very dear friend.

What have you to loose? But what might you stand to gain in terms of friendship, good will, future co-operation and understanding.

Go on, give it a go!