Christmas: The season finds meaning

The meaning of the season? For many, it is about worship. For many more it’s about celebration–eating, drinking, jolity. For many, many, more, it is about gifts–let’s not fight that reality. For that last group, which is better? Giving? Getting?

We love the look of expectation on young children’s faces as Christmas Eve turns into Christmas Day. All of their hopes and fears about gifts and Santa Claus start to rise, because they do not really understand the pleasure of giving, and look forward to the thrill of receiving.

There are few better presents than getting a gift that you wanted. Getting what you wanted, when you expected to get nothing is especially sweet, not only because of the total surprise. Imagine the joy on the face of my wife’s young nephew’s, when he received a BlackBerry phone? He had lost his own BB about three months ago–well, he did not accept that it was lost, but was misplaced in his home. But, unfound it remained. His mother had refused to buy him a new phone to teach him a lesson for being careless. So, for three months, whatever the reason had been for having the phone in the first place, he had had to find how to live without it.

On the way from church this morning, his grandmother, who for months had been driving him to and from his swimming practice, found a phone lying under the back seat of her car. She thought the phone belonged to one of her nephews, who lived with her, and had lost his phone a few nights ago. She tried to call it, but as the battery had died, got no reply. I charged it soon after we got home, and were getting into watching the children and grandparents open their presents.

When the phone had a little charge in it, I checked the screen. I was surprised to see the name of my wife’s nephew. His mother yelled with delight. We decided that the best thing would be to wrap it and present it to him–a real gift from Santa. When he came to the family room so that we could all watch him open the phone, he was very matter-of-fact. But, he crumpled, and curled, and went into a coma-like state as he realised that it was his phone. “You hid my phone!” he yelled at his mother, grinning. “No. We found it this morning, in your grandma’s car,” she assured him. He checked his messages: “Only 224 e-mails since September 11,” he chimed.

His eyes rolled. His smile got broader. “I still have $32 credit,” he gloated.

One very happy person, who I know will think that his prayers had been answered. Priceless.



About The Grasshopper

Professional international economist, recently retired from an international organization. I use blogging as a way of organizing my ideas and thoughts about a range of topics. I was born in Jamaica, and spent many years being educated, living, and working in the UK. I lived in the USA for a few decades, and worked and travelled abroad extensively. My views have a wide international perspective. Father of girls. Also, married to an economist.
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