1 Dec 2011
Welcome to the last episode of KaTsZoNe for 2011!
This is Issue #83 and I cannot tell you how surprised I am that I've lasted this long in writing these monthly episodes! If this was a t.v. program, it's still not too bad, eh?
Back on December 10th and 11th, 2004, I put together the first issues of KaTsZoNe in Microsoft Word and emailed them out to good friends. A year later, I decided to purchase a website on Citymax.com and continued to write KaTsZoNe on a monthly basis. Getting my own domain name www.katszone.com was a pretty big deal for me - my own BRAND! LOL. It may not be as famous as "Aspirin" or "Kellogg's Corn Flakes" but, I thought if my writing can relieve some of your pains and stress like "Aspirin", and be comforting and healthy as Kellogg's Corn Flakes, perhaps KaTsZoNe has become a good and useful brand too!!!
After writing 82 episodes of KaTsZoNe, I often wonder where am I going to come up with more ideas that is not going to put readers to sleep. Somehow, it does come together because my life experiences are real. If I was writing fiction, it would probably not have lasted this long. Stories about my life and about people I know or encounter have provided inspiration and motivation for me to continue on. KaTsZoNe episodes have some of you thinking that to lead a busy, interesting and rather exciting life. I laugh whenever I hear such a comment! I've always thought I led a typical, "normal" life! Perhaps, when I write about daily life, I become like Dr. Seuss' Cat in the Hat, and it turns into an adventure!
It's December and if you're like me, you're thinking about Christmas. So, I thought I would talk about it. First of all, "C" is for Christmas. If you've ever watched Sesame Street, Cookie Monster would say, "C is for Cookie, that's good enough for me!" Yes, Christmas and Cookie begin with the letter "C", as well as Candy Canes, Caramel, Cakes, Chocolates, Chestnuts, and Cranberries. Well, it may appear that I am focused on food, and not only that, they are foods associated with Christmas. More importantly, the most important word associated with Christmas beginning with "C" is Christ as in Jesus Christ for without whom there would be no holiday or feast called "Christmas".
Whether you celebrate it on December 25th or on January 6th, Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Christians celebrate it and people of other religions or no religion also celebrate Christmas in some way. I have been asked by friends whether I put up a Christmas tree or Christmas lights - no, we don't. My mom and I don't exchange cards and gifts at Christmas, at least, not formally, where we wrap everything up, and then open them on Christmas Day. We do give each other gifts which happens around Christmas time. But, my mom and I give to each other throughout the year on no particular occasion, so, we are always in the habit of giving. With Larry, I have tried to express that within my family, giving is something we do not just at Christmas time, but all year round. I know that Larry and his family observe Christmas traditions as many others - putting up a Christmas tree and lights, exchanging gifts with one another on Christmas Day. I respect the tradition of others, and it does not surprise him any more that I will give him things throughout the year.
If I only gave once a year, I think I would feel crippled. If I wrote only once a year, I would also feel crippled. Writing and giving are two "gifts" which I feel that I have received from God and if I don't use these gifts all year round, I know I will lose them. I feel that we all have a calling in life. If you are called to encourage, then go and encourage people. If you feel a call, or feel your purpose in life is to heal, then go and heal people. If you are called to create music, then do it with all of your heart. I know those of you who have each of those gifts - to encourage, to heal, to create music.
Throughout the years I have asked myself, what is my motive and purpose of giving a gift? Why do I want to give a gift? What would be considered "good" (appropriate) and "bad" (inappropriate) gifts? Do we simply give because of tradition and should I just go along with tradition?
I feel that I give because I have a calling or a "gift" of giving. No, I don't think I am a saint! I do not want anything in return except a good outcome or benefit to others. Sometimes, I wonder why I am not broke by now. I see blessings come back to me double, triple, quadruple fold, which seems to prove that what Jesus said is true, that "It is more blessed to give than to receive."
I try to give with the right spirit. Many years ago I noticed when I gave with the wrong spirit or attitude (i.e. having ulterior motives such as trying to "buy" someone's love and affection), it just backfired. All I could do was learn from it. When I hear horror stories in the news about people are stabbed in the parking lots at the malls during holiday shopping, or trampled or stabbed while while trying to grab the last "hot item" on store shelves, it baffles me that people do not see their own ignorant and selfish behaviour. They do not seem to understand what the Christian attitude of giving is about.
Where did the idea of giving at Christmas come from? Over two thousand years ago, Three Wise Men or Magi followed a Star to Bethelehem where baby Jesus was born. They brought three gifts for this special child: Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. They are suppose to be the inspiration of all our Christmas gift giving today. (Ref. www.magi-gifts.com/significance.html)
Gold - A precious element across all cultures and time. Gold was symbolic of royalty. The signficance of this gift is to show that Jesus Christ is the King of Kings.
Frankincense - A milky sap tapped from the Boswellia tree, known to have medicinal and soothing qualities. Herbalists claim that frankincense oil is calming, restorative, gently clarifying, and meditative. Ancient people used it to treat depression. Frankincense oil was also burned and it was believed that it would carry prayers to heaven. This gift to Jesus signified his role as our Priest.
Myrrh - Myrrh is a resin produced by a small, tough, scraggly tree that grows in the semi-desert regions of North Africa and the Red Sea. Myrrh was used to heal wounds because of its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. It seemed like a mystery why Myrrh was given to Jesus. I would think that it signified Jesus' role as the Great Physician and Healer. But, the other explanation is that the Egyptians used Myrrh in the embalming process, and so, it may symbolize that Jesus came to die for the world. Myrrh was one of the burial spices used for Jesus.
How do those three ancient gifts inspire all Christmas gifts today? Makes you think, doesn't it? Oh...gold jewellery (nice!). Gold was and is money - so, wouldn't a cash gift also be in the spirit of Christmas? Bath oils and scented candles to soothe, calm and restore...hmmm. Myrrh - well, I don't think I want to go with embalming ingredient - but, spa treatment, natural oils, perhaps?
Just because I mention these items, it does not mean that everyone will like or be inspired by them even though they have qualities of the three first Christmas gifts! I have a friend who has several allergies, so, I try to avoid giving her candles and bath products, just to be on the safe side (unless I know for sure that she is okay with them). Likewise, my friend knows that I am diabetic, so, she gives me sugar free chocolates (great for diabetics) just to be on the "safe" side! Yes, my friends, I would consider chocolates as "inspired" by one of the original Christmas gifts since like frankincense, cocoa in dark chocolate has anti-depressant properties! You've probably realized by now that I can make a case for just about every possible gift!
I really did not intend to provide gift giving tips, but, I just thought it was interesting to see how the idea of giving at Christmas came about. Again, I want to emphasize that having the proper attitude of giving, similar to the Three Wise Men giving gifts to Jesus, means giving without any expectation to receive anything in return. Ideally, gifts are meaningful to the recipient. God gives us good gifts, not those which would harm us - likewise, we should be thoughtful and think carefully about the gifts we give, that they do not cause harm to the recipient.
"C" is for Christ Jesus and "C" is for Christmas. Whether you are a follower of Christ, or of a different religion or have no religion, I hope you will experience God's good and perfect gifts from above. May you be showered with Love, Peace, Hope and so much more!
For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.
(Luke 2:11, American Standard Version)
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