Every Christmas season we see a variety of advertisements on the television promoting one product or the other. Occasionally there is that one advertisement which causes us to look beyond what is seen. We are encouraged to look beyond the clothes, toys, appliances, tools, perfumes, etc., and think more deeply about the other possible messages being communicated.
One such advertisement this Christmas season comes from the Hobby Lobby foundation, an organisation known for producing craft items. This time it is about quilts. It is a cold winter’s night and from her bedroom window, the little girl watches her father as he shears a sheep in the barn.
When the shearing is completed, she takes her quilt and leaving her mother in the kitchen, runs outside and covers the sheep with the quilt. The words, “Christmas is what you make it”, are posted on the screen as the ad comes to an end.
The more I viewed the ad, the more these subtle messages emerged.
Observation: Even though she was occupied with her quilting, she took the time to observe what was happening. Sometimes we are so caught up in our own affairs, we seldom observe what is happening around us. We are being urged to observe.
Our assistance may be needed in different ways and because we are observant, we may be able to render the assistance where needed. The little girl observed, knowing that after the shearing, the sheep would be cold, so she did something positive.
Selflessness: More and more, society is lamenting that many of our problems are caused by selfish behaviour. Consideration is not always given. We see it in family life, on our roads, in our schools and public places, etc. Emphasis is placed on “rights” instead of responsibilities and common courtesies and good manners are lost in the “it’s about me” attitude.
The little girl could have kept her quilt, but she thought about the comfort of the sheep and so selflessly used her treasured possession to ensure that the sheep was warm.
Gratitude: While the sheep may not be able to say or express gratitude, it must not escape us that there are daily opportunities for us to respond with grateful hearts when we experience acts of kindness. Each day we awake is an opportunity to go before God with grateful hearts for His gift of life and the blessings He provides to sustain it.
Contemplating the ad’s tagline, “Christmas is what you make it”, I saw it as an invitation for us to make choices during this season. In spite of its commercialisation, the choice is ours to make Christmas whatever we want it to be.
The young girl’s innocence and generosity is worth emulating. It serves to remind us also that whatever our choices, our actions will have an impact, positively or negatively on others.
Nap Hepburn’s Christmas classic, Listen Mama I want you to tell Santa Claus, is a combination of the messages shared after viewing the ad. He observed, listened, selflessly gave, bringing joy and contentment to the little boy, and so received the gratitude of a mother who was happy because her son was happy.
The less fortunate, the lonely, the shut-ins, the relatives with whom we have not been in contact for quite a while, the members of the church family with whom we worship yet still don’t know, neighbours with whom we do not interact simply because we don’t have time, all provide the opportunities for us to live the real reason for the season.
Christmas 2018…….make it different!