Managed to get quite a few in my list ticked, so that also means that my Christmas bills are tolling up :/
Christmas brings about many meaningful messages, and one of them that appears to me very deeply this year is that it is a season of giving even when it hurts (your pocket, especially). It is the end of the year, time when bills need to be cleared, accounts need to be balanced. For a student like me, study loan has not been bank in yet, what more, that my family is experiencing some financial constraint lately.
A typical chinese mentality would says that it is a hassle to give gifts, why not angpau? practical as the person can buy whatever he/she wants, and avoid letting the businessmen earn the interest. For me though it is indeed a brain-cracking process, it is about taking the effort to know what the person needs/likes, and I truly find joy in doing it.
Another things I've learnt over years is the principle of 'freely given, freely receive'. I've learnt that the act of giving and choosing what to give, is fundamentally, and should remained to be, by the move of the Spirit. It is not about repaying what you receive, like the chinese proverbs that says '礼尚往来, 来而不往非礼也' (if u dun give a gift back as return to the giver, it is no manners). For years, my family have been giving Christmas gifts based on that principle, so it was a mixed feeling when we get gift from unexpected giver. Eventually, it has become a sort of ritual instead of what that was genuinely given. We're all tired of that. Please don't misunderstand me, I DO really appreciate all the gifts I received. Likewise, I've grown to learn not to expect gifts as i give.
***Christmas this year is really unusual for me and my family. It is definitely not Church-y, and no caroling-run-around for the first time in our six year Christmas night. The only scheduled party is the P&C family dinner which will happen on the Eve, of course untill last night when i got an invitation from a friend for tonight. As saddening as it might suggest, i think i'm enjoying it so far, the silent, low profile merry little Christmas, and is starting to unlearn and learn about the true meaning of Christmas.