At Christmas little children sing and merry bells jingle,
The cold winter air makes our hands and faces tingle
And happy families go to church and cheerily they mingle
And the whole business is unbelievably dreadful, if you’re single.
Christmas is a wonderful time of the year for most of us, those of us fortunate enough to be surrounded by loved ones, or even just liked ones, to have homes that are heated and fridges that are stocked, to have enough money to by tonnes of superfluous tat which brightens up our living rooms and enchants our kids. For many, many people and in particular this year, Christmas is anything but.
It’s tough, it’s expensive, it’s draining, it’s depressing and it’s downright challenging. I don’t need to get on my privileged high horse to point this out as most of us are fully aware of it, but it’s important to acknowledge it. There are so many people who find Christmas tough and for so many reasons;
- A dear friend of ours passed away this year, suddenly at 38, her two children of 7 and 4 are spending Christmas without a mum, their dad is spending Christmas without his partner.
- 10s of thousands of people in our supposedly 1st world civilized UK will be homeless this Christmas, with adults and children literally going hungry. See the Shelter website for how you can help
- Women and Children, forced to rely on the kindness, support and comfort of Refuge this Christmas
- Foodbanks opening up in more locations than ever before to meet demand for families unable to fill their basic dietary needs with the meager incomes they receive
- An ever growing older population, with so many of our elderly without relatives or support this Christmas
Of course, the numbers of those in need are great and it’s easy to be mired in the sadness, but it’s also important to remember that behind all the tragedies and challenges there are phenomenal things happening, this post is a THANK YOU to all those volunteers who give up their time, love, energy and resource to those in tougher circumstances than the majority of us, those through no fault of their own find themselves having to rely on others, ask for help, seek support. It is truly humbling to encounter these unsung heroines and heroes who give without expectation of thanks.
It’s important to also remember that we can all make a difference, if sometimes only in very small and seemingly insignificant ways;
“One day an old man was walking along the beach. It was low tide, and the sand was littered with thousands of stranded starfish that the water had carried in and then left behind. The man began walking very carefully so as not to step on any of the beautiful creatures. Since the animals still seemed to be alive, he considered picking some of them up and putting them back in the water, where they could resume their lives.
The man knew the starfish would die if left on the beach’s dry sand but he reasoned that he could not possibly help them all, so he chose to do nothing and continued walking. Soon afterward, the man came upon a small child on the beach who was frantically throwing one starfish after another back into the sea. The old man stopped and asked the child, “What are you doing?” “I’m saving the starfish,” the child replied. “Why waste your time?… There are so many you can’t save them all so why does it matter?”, asked the man.
Without hesitation, the child picked up another starfish and tossed the starfish back into the water… “It matters to this one,” the child said”.
We can’t save the world, sometimes we struggle to just get through the day, but we can look out for each other and a kind word goes a very long way,
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted”.