I think this cartoon captures the essence of the season, at least the essence as far as our commerical media is concerned. The jingles such as “Open Happiness” (Coke) or “Be Happy” (Target) assume that we believe our happiness comes from the things we possess or what food/drink that we consume.
I think we all know deep down that things don’t satisfy or bring lasting joy. But let’s be honest: we are still caught up in this consumerist ideology, espeecially during this festive season.
So, rather than deny it, let’s admit that we love our things, our food, our conveniences, our “guilty pleasures.” And while we may not be able to completely remove the things we enjoy from our lives, perhaps, especially at this time of year, we can be generous in spirit towards those who do not even have the things they need–food, medical help, shelter, clean water, hygeine or good sanitation–and give from our plenty to better their situation in life.
There are many fine organisations through which we can give the gift of hope: World Vision, Kiva, Médecins Sans Frontières, Oxfam, Anglicare, Charity Water, Vinnies, Salvation Army, SIMaid . . . and the list goes on and on. (For a great range of gifts supporting a variety of charities, try Charity Gifts.) Or perhaps your church has a program to help the needy in your community.
Let’s be honest: giving is a blessing in itself and can make you feel a real sense of joy and satisfaction knowing that you had a part to play in making this world a better place. So, as we fast approach Christmas with all it’s treasures, open happiness–open your wallet, and your heart–and give.