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How to celebrate Christmas in a mindful and respectful way

Church in the Community - Media Release in the Herald: 18th December 2023

Source: TCN / Eddie Daniels
Date Added: 2023-12-18

Category: General NewsTCN NewsIssues - General
Celebrating Christmas in a world affected by war and starvation can indeed be a delicate balance between acknowledging the hardships faced by many and embracing the spirit of the season.

Let me propose some considerations for a cautious celebration:

Gratitude and compassion
While celebrating, it is important to recognise the privilege of having comfort and abundance.
Practicing gratitude and fostering empathy towards those facing adversity can shape a more compassionate approach to the festivities as well as assisting in tempering excesses.

Conscious giving
Rather than excessive consumerism, focus on meaningful and conscious giving.
Consider donating to charities or organisations supporting war-torn regions, those providing shelter for people affected by gender-based violence, shelters for homeless people or those providing aid to alleviate starvation.

Raising awareness
Consider using the holiday season as an opportunity to raise awareness about global issues.
Engage in conversations with family and friends about the realities faced by communities in conflict zones or affected by hunger, encouraging support or activism.

Supporting ethical practices
Be mindful of the products you purchase.
Choose ethically sourced goods or support businesses that have a positive impact on communities in need.

Creating a meaningful celebration
Consider dedicating a part of your celebration to honour and remember those affected by war and hunger.
This can be through moments of reflection, prayers, or dedicating a specific activity to raise awareness.
Furthermore, let us temper our celebrations by not abusing alcohol or wasting food – think of a neighbour who may need you to reach out to them by way of sharing our abundance with them.

Community engagement
Engage with local community initiatives or volunteer programs that support marginalised or struggling populations.
Our active involvement can make a significant difference.

Sensitivity in festivities
While celebrating, let us be mindful of how our actions might impact others who are personally affected by the suffering around the world.
Show sensitivity in the way festivities are conducted to respect those going through difficult times.

Remain mindful
Celebrating Christmas while being mindful of the world's challenges doesn’t diminish the joy of the season.
Instead, it can amplify the spirit of compassion, generosity, and solidarity, embodying the true essence of the holiday.
Celebrating Christmas with a focus on uplifting the downtrodden can truly embody the spirit of selflessness and compassion.
In the end it is about sharing the joy of the season, of Jesus coming into our world – God incarnate – with others and making a positive impact in their lives.

It's not just about giving material gifts but offering kindness, compassion, and support to those who need it most.

So, when the lights that lighten our Christmas trees, homes, and streets are dimmed and eventually cleared along with all the trimmings, the story of Christmas remains and is simple: God, in his grace and mercy decided to add humanity to deity in Jesus Christ who came into the world to show us what God is like.

Ultimately, through his death, Jesus bridged the gap between our brokenness and our God’s embrace.

That is the truth about why we celebrate at Christmas.

May the wonder of the incarnation of Jesus Christ fill your Christmas with hope, faith, and the joy of God's love made manifest.

Merry Christmas!
 
The Rt Revd Dr Eddie Daniels CStJ
Anglican Bishop of Port Elizabeth
Source: TCN / Eddie Daniels
Date Added: 2023-12-18

Category: General NewsTCN NewsIssues - General
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