There was a time when I felt the season of giving was simply a common courtesy in order to receive and provide our significant others with material gifts.
I now understand more clearly that this special season is for heartfelt acts of gratitude for having people in our lives. When keeping the true spirit of giving close to heart, it enables us to give from the heart all year-round.
The yuletide season should be a time when our love comes to call because that love gives this time of year its true meaning.
What intrigues me about the Christmas season here in China is that the majority who celebrate this time of year are non-Christian. The Buddhists have embraced the season as a way of giving thanks. With the one child policy in effect here, parents and children alike await the arrival of the jolly old soul. The children here like in America take great Joy in Santa’s arrival.
I have found over the years though that it’s not the material gifts that count in life but rather it’s the unrecognized, undetected, and unremembered acts of loving kindness that are our greatest gifts and achievements in life.
If we truly want to see a world of loving and joyous people we must be loving and joyous towards the people in our own lives. That potential is part of our humanity. When we reach out and touch others we touch part of the humanity that is within us. When we enhance the life of another in need we in turn enhance our own lives.
Objects gift-wrapped in shiny paper can be forgotten over time but kindness whispered to those in need will echo endlessly throughout the community. Those small acts of kindness resonate with the giver and the receiver because they are gifts from the heart. Such priceless gifts can never be measured monetarily though, because how can you put a price on love?
From my heart to yours, I would like to wish all of you a very merry and joyous holiday season.
Always with love from Suzhou, China
Thomas F O’Neill
Phone: (800) 272-6464
China Cell: 011-86-15114565945
Other articles, short stories, and commentaries by Thomas F. O'Neill can be found on his award winning blog, Link: http://thomasfoneill.blogspot.com