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The 'give' spirit The 'give' spirit
by Thanos Kalamidas
2019-12-25 11:06:07
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Christmas days for people like me who born and grew up in Christian Europe into a Greek Orthodox environment have a special meaning, rich in memories and absolutely nothing to do with… religion and I know very well how surrealistic that sounds to all non-Christians.

crt01_400So please do let me explain. My childhood Christmas memories include a lot of sweets, a lot of food and toys. Family gatherings, presents, parties and games. Long walks to...digest all this food and films. “It's a Wonderful Life” was a must see just like the “Christmas Story” in its animation form. Did you see a church anywhere? Nope!

Then I grew up and my memories of me as a teenager first and young adult later include a lot of sweets, a lot of food and a lot of...alcohol. Family and later friends gathering, presents, parties, games and...alcohol. Long sleeps after hard hangovers and half watching “It's a Wonderful Life” on television or the animated version of the Christmas Story”. Again, did you see a church anywhere? Again, nope!

And adulthood came with parenthood and many -hoods as well. My memories from that era include less sweets, lot of food, alcohol. Mainly friends gatherings, presents to the kids, dress-up Santa, school celebrations and of course trying to keep your kid quiet so you can watch “It's a Wonderful Life” on television. No church. Not again.

And please don't misunderstand me, this is not the chronicle of Christmas atheist anonymous, this is the average Christmas all around Europe and most the west for Christian and atheist families. It is all about our memories or building up new memories with new family members.

I mean look at Ebenezer Scrooge, the man within Charles Dickens' Christmas Story went to hell and back accompanied with the most scary ghosts to appreciate the Christmas spirit and he didn't step inside a church not even once. And I’m not going to start about the pagan roots of the Christmas tree or please don’t let me start with the mid-evil roots of most of the...Christmas songs or the horrific background of the little drummer boy.

Still there is something in Christmas which you learn to appreciate more when you get older. When you are young you are in the getting side but when you get older you realize that there is the giving side and the joy in the giving side sometimes is much bigger than this on the getting side. Especially when the getting side needs. Needs to get. Even love. Even a hug and a kiss, friendship and family warmth.

This is what the Christmas spirit carries and – my believe – it is an inspiration beyond believes and religions.

Ending the second decade of the 21st century we live on a planet with 7.5 billion people, half of them, more than 3 billion souls live in poverty with less than a dollar a day to cover their needs. 1 billion children worldwide live in absolute poverty and 22,000 children under 12 die every day due to poverty.

Nearly a billion people do not have enough food to eat and more than 700 million don't have access to clean water. 165 million children under 5 are never get a normal growth due to chronic malnutrition. 1/4 of the global population lives without electricity.

1/4 of the yearly income of the top 100 world billionaires annually could end global poverty.

This is...give, the real spirit.

Season greetings to all of you!


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