Remember the true spirit of Christmas and spread a little cheer to those who need it most - Daxa Patel

As we approach Christmas I would like to reflect on the essence of Christmas as I see it. I am not a Christian, but I respect the values of Christianity, in fact I learnt from my father the universal truths almost all religions share in common. The most common theme being faith, hope and love.

Around the middle of December, the usual mad rush of buying Christmas presents in shops, and online takes place with lots of Black Friday deals.

There are queues in the Post office and our Posties carry a heavier sack of mail than usual. What is it with the hype of buying and spending, and how does that sit with the true essence of Christmas?

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Christmas is the birthday of Lord Jesus Christ. From my understanding it is not just about being merry, but it is a time to reflect and be kind. Show love and concern for others and share the spirit of celebrations of God’s love of humanity.

Decorators put the finishing touches to the ornaments on the Christmas tree outside 10 Downing Street. PIC: Aaron Chown/PA WireDecorators put the finishing touches to the ornaments on the Christmas tree outside 10 Downing Street. PIC: Aaron Chown/PA Wire
Decorators put the finishing touches to the ornaments on the Christmas tree outside 10 Downing Street. PIC: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

A friend of mine messaged me to say how wonderful it felt to attend Leeds Cathedral and how good it was to be reminded of what Christmas is really about.

Earlier they went to Church where much needed funds were raised with Santa’s grotto.

There is something magical in this message; it is about the spirit of Christmas and the spiritual essence of love, kindness and giving. It is not about spending on Christmas presents that are not wanted or indeed needed.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Those with families will meet and share some beautiful moments together on Christmas day and on Boxing Day and that is amazing as Christmas allows families to come together, sit at the same table and eat together.

There are those without families so let us share some time to think of those who will feel sad and lonely at Christmas.

The feeling of sadness and loneliness is not just subjective, it is also real. We must be alive to this and share some of the Christmas spirit with those we know have nobody in their corner and desire some support.

The other day, I heard the sad news that my dog Oscar’s mum had sadly passed. I mention this because it made me realise that Oscar’s mum, Missy had left a legacy, she had a litter of seven and her human family carefully chose the ‘best’ families to take care of Missy’s pups. I was one of the lucky ones too.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

After hearing this news, I shared the news with Oscar but there was a part of me that felt he already knew. I noticed he was unusually despondent that day, and the news came in later in the evening.

I mention this because animals, in particular dogs, are said to be closer to God. They feel and know more than we give them credit for.

They are not burdened with the human baggage of negativity, they live in the now, so they are able to sense things we do not.

Missy spread her unconditional love to her own human family, but also to seven other families, that was her gift to humanity.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Death is inevitable for all of us, knowing that and knowing how hard the pandemic was for so many of us and remains so, can we step out of our usual mode of buying and think is there anyone we can share the Christmas spirit of cheer and love with?

Before my father died, we had the custom of always inviting one person who lived alone to our home on Christmas day. It was our small way of sharing with another.

Missy’s news upset me. There I was in the middle of the night sitting in my dad’s chair by our bay window looking out at the quiet night.

I found myself dipping into my old journals which contained my notes written some eight years ago. I found the entry for Christmas day in 2015, two years after my father died, and I wrote ‘today I am celebrating Christmas alone with my dad, God and the Queen’.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Each one of us will celebrate Christmas in our own unique way, some with families and some alone. Our streets have homeless people sleeping rough, not a lifestyle choice I am sure of, as suggested recently by one politician.

Can we remind ourselves of the true spirit of Christmas as we understand it to be and if needs be taking refuge in the scriptures for a better understanding of what this day means.

We could act slightly out of the ordinary to make a difference to someone not as privileged as us.

Christmas to me is about taking the edge off someone’s sadness. The commercialisation of Christmas magnifies the sadness of those who will be alone, spare a thought for them and let us play our part to spread a little Christmas spirit as it was intended.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

My final note as a dog lover to anyone thinking of buying a dog or puppy for Christmas, please do not unless it will be cared for by a responsible human.

A puppy is for life, not just for Christmas as the famous advert says.

Daxa Manhar Patel is a leadership coach, author and solicitor.

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.