I once knew a child who received a telescope as a Christmas gift. It was a unique Christmas gift, unlike the Lego, the train sets, the football gear of the previous years, it was a gift that would somehow form his life.
That child used his telescope wherever and whenever he could. He observed birds in trees, distant dogs in distant neighbor’s yards, and the workmen in the tower cranes of the steel factory close to his home. With every new discovery, the boy wanted to know more, he wanted to see further, he wanted to explore the secrets beyond the next horizon. His curiosity has been enflamed.
With the passing of the years, the telescope lost its clarity, its housing cracked and broke, and eventually, even the lenses that once offered a new and crystal clear view of the world became loose from their housing. That thoughtful Christmas gift of his childhood was no longer.
However, the curiosity the gift has instilled remained with him for a lifetime. He traveled the world, always wanting to see further, to meet new cultures, to taste new tastes, to hear new and foreign tongues, and to record a life that was he once thought would be forever out of focus. A simple Christmas gift, given with meaning, and given with a purpose, left its mark for life.
Material possessions will come and go, but a Christmas chosen with the well-being of the recipient in mind will offer an experience to be lived, a host of memories to serve us long into the future, and a bank of stories with which to enrich our lives and the lives of others.
With all of that in mind, perhaps this year we should try digging deeper into the real meaning of our Christmas celebrations. We could start by thinking back on the year that just been, and discovering, or rediscovering the connections that are most important to us will help us to choose wisely when it comes to Christmas gifts. More than ever we need to find the true Christmas meaning and to celebrate the positives, and the negatives that have influenced and continue to influence our lives.
Christmas means something different to everyone. But we must try to remember, that it’s not just receiving gifts that can make us happy, but that act of giving can often bring greater happiness.
Happy Christmas to everyone.