Some eight years later, a story told by Monsignor Richard Albert in an article he wrote in the Jamaican Daily Gleaner of December 21, 1993 remains, for me, one of the best examples of the true Spirit of Christmas.
In that article, he told the story of Miss Lena who “was very old and confined to the yard in which she lived in one of Kingston’s poorest and most crime-infested communities.”
That year, as Father Albert took his leave of Miss Lena after having made his Christmas visit to her, he said she assured him that she would be praying for him and “all the poor.” Then she gave him a small, crumpled piece of old newspaper and when he opened it, saw that it contained six $2 bills and a note which said: “Please buy a gift for someone.”
According to Father Albert, “Her gesture reminded me that Christmas is all about giving – God gave His only Son.
“It does not matter what or how much we give but the great message of Christmas is that what is important in life, is that we give to each other; that we give in love and in a desire to share with especially the less fortunate,” Father Albert reminded us.
When I first read this article by Father Albert back in 1993, I felt inspired and humbled by the actions of this little old lady, Miss Lena, who was so far removed from the poverty of her circumstances that, like the widow that gave all her mite she was able to give all she had to those she considered less fortunate than herself.
I remain very grateful for the lesson of this story and each year that Christmas, my very favourite time of year, rolls around, I am reminded of Miss Lena and how she understood the real meaning of Christmas and it helps to keep me focussed throughout the season.
My wish for you is that you too will grasp this lesson and take it with you throughout this new year. It’s a win-win situation, really, this idea of concentrating more on giving than receiving because, if you have very little or no money to spend, whether at Christmas or at other times, then by taking your mind off your problems and concentrating, instead, on helping someone less fortunate than yourself, you will definitely stave off the depression and other low-esteem-generating thoughts that inevitably plague us when we are financially-challenged.
And on the other hand, if you have enough money to do all the things you want to do, then the ability to spread the joy around by helping others is also a spirit-lifting exercise.
So as we begin yet another New Year, my wish for everyone is that you will remember Miss Lena and the lesson she taught about the real meaning of Christmas. May it serve you well for the New Year.
“It is well to remember that the entire population of the universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others.” (Andrew J. Holmes)
Carmen Richards Reid – Editor & Publisher: Woman To Woman Magazine – ]http://www.w2wmag.com