O Come, All Ye Faithful

In spite of all the hype, I truly do love Christmas. I happily sing carols in the weeks leading up to that blessed event. Singing loudly and proudly of mangers and shepherds, kings and angels and ‘snow that lays round about, deep and crisp and even’.

Sometimes in Tasmania, where I am from, Christmas day does have snow that lays round about, but rarely deep or even!

The message in all the carols reflects the true spirit of the season - the birth of Christ. Like all births it heralds a new beginning and is a celebration of the possibility to come as a child, that child particularly, grows to maturity. It is full of promise and opportunity.

Many of us go overboard with our giving. We get caught in thinking the price tag is reflective of how much we love those we are buying for. I don’t feel we count the cost, thankfully, as much when we receive. We are generous and kind when offered a gift, knowing intrinsically that it is truly the thought that counts.

‘Good King Wenceslas’ is my favourite carol. I sing it with all the gusto that is the joy of the Christmas season. Putting all the right emphasis on the syllables of Wen-ces-las as one must!

There are elements to the carol I especially like. The noticing of someone in need and the desire to transform a ‘poor man’s’ life comes immediately to mind. The recognition that our own lives are enhanced when we do that is also important.

The poor man can offer nothing in return to the wealthy man. The generosity of the giving carries the carol. I like, too, that the servant who accompanies his king is also offered thoughtful kindness. There is effort in the giving and generosity in the sharing.

We don’t have to look far to find those who need our care at Christmas. The ‘poor man’ could easily be a family member estranged, a parent having to work on Christmas day, a family suffering the loss of a loved family member, a job, a friend or a home.

The giving trees in shopping centres, churches and community centres are perfect ways to share generously and anonymously with others. Many community centres, the St Vincent De Paul Conference and CatholicCare Community Kitchens, together with other agencies, offer opportunities for hampers or community lunches where all are welcome to contribute or attend. And you don’t have to be alone, lonely or without to come together and celebrate with them. All you need is to accept the invitation to be present – the greatest present of all.

It is after all in the giving that we receive. As the carollers sing ‘wealth or rank possessing, Ye who now will bless the poor, shall yourselves find blessing’.

Have a wonderful and blessed Christmas time. Be safe. 

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