The Season for Serving


Martin Costigan - Newsletter

Edition # 2 December 2012


The Season for Serving

Dear Visitor

The Christmas Season is now in full swing - only 20 days to go!

This time of year is pretty crazy for many of us. End of year deadlines and work commitments, endless social get togethers and people to catch up with, presents to buy, holidays to plan, and so on. Every time we go into a shop, turn on the radio or TV, we are bombarded with Christmas advertising.

It is very easy to completely miss the essence of the Christmas Season and get caught up in the hype that surrounds December every year. So what is the central message of Christmas? Well for those who are Christians it has particular meaning and significance, but many people are not Christians yet still celebrate Christmas. So how could we distill the 'essence' of Christmas for all?

I like to think of the essence of the Christmas message, as serving others. So what do I mean by this? Well our circle of people is made up of family, friends, work colleagues and other acquaintances. Many of these need someone to listen to them, speak a kind word, assist them in some way, or just to be non-judgemental.

So one way to immerse ourselves in the essence of Christmas is to do what we are doing from a disposition of service. This may mean doing what we would do anyway, but focus on operating from an intention of serving the other person. At other times it may mean going the extra mile and doing a bit more.

A simple yet powerful way to serve others is to do it anonymously. Perform a kind act with out the recipient knowing you actually did it. When we consciously choose to serve others both the giver and receiver benefit. Check out the Random Acts of Kindness website for ideas.

On Christmas Day a couple of years ago my wife and I went to a park with the food van she volunteers for, and shared food, drink and companionship with the homeless for the morning. Many of these people had no family, food or presents to celebrate Christmas Day with. Two things struck me very powerfully that morning. Firstly, how happy many of these 'streeties' were. In wordily terms they had nothing, yet they were so grateful for the companionship that morning and laughter pervaded the air. The second was there desire to share the little they received on that day with each other; a cake, biscuit, cigarette or sweets. Their lack of ego and spirit of service to each other was tangible. Riding back in the van I started thinking to myself, "Who really is poor? Us or them?"

Several years ago on Christmas Day we invited a neighbour from across the street over for Christmas lunch. He was an alcoholic, lived alone and had little contact with his children or family members. We did it to enter into the true spirit of Christmas, but I also invited him over, to give my two kids a demonstration of what Christmas was really about. That action really had a big affect on my kids...actions speak much louder than words.

So try not to let this December pass and be overtaken with busyness and consumerism. Try to become conscious of serving others this month, and in doing so, bringing a bit more light into the world.

Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year.


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Introduction to Meditation: a one day retreat

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quote-top-leftA good conscience is a continual  Christmas quote-bottom-right

             Benjamin Franklin