Never forget to smile, even when life is hard

Introduction: Woes are relative

Quoting Pope Francis, “one of the most needed virtues of modern time is hope.. no matter how hard life gets; this is often expressed in the simple act of a smile.”

Misfortune does not rest. It is seemingly unaware of Christmas recess or Summer break.

We know this all too well from the Covid-19 experience that spread relentlessly across the world.

Because most of us have had it relatively good for so long we may have moaned at our “mis-fortune”, perhaps not understanding that at the end of the day misfortune is relative.

We often need to look outside of ourselves to realise this. Nothing brings this point home more than a post from our friend and fellow hiker Carmel (https://www.facebook.com/carmel.pace.73/posts/10213892387183474) who in March 2020 lost his wife and everything else except the clothes on this back and nine months later there is no equitable end in sight. There are other severe personal misfortunes that hit close to home such as illness, death, loss of employment of a main bread winner, insolvencies and so on that make most of our “woes” pale in comparison.

We are our own enemies when we do not look beyond ourselves and be the change this world sorely needs.

 “Lend a Helping Hand”: Looking outside ourselves

In the words of Martin Luther King, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

And in Mother Theresa’s words, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

We may not be able to individually change the whole world but we can change the world of a few individuals around us.

Within this spirit, XirCammini has launched the “Lend a Helping Hand” initiative for this Christmas:

https://www.facebook.com/events/371338264126193/?acontext=%7B%22event_action_history%22%3A[%7B%22mechanism%22%3A%22search_results%22%2C%22surface%22%3A%22search%22%7D]%7D

In a nutshell, we are asking our XirCammini community and their friends, to put together a basket with 5 items, i.e. tinned food item and dried food item, a prepared beverage (excluding alcohol and soft drinks), an item of toiletry (or feminine hygiene) and a Christmas goodie.

We are not stipulating how much one should spend on putting the basket together (“il-qalb kollox”). Our only request is that in each bag, we have at least one of each of the above items.

These will be donated by XirCammini on behalf of all donors to one of our inner harbour parishes who run a food bank for the less fortunate in our society. We may not be in a position to bankroll banquets, but we will collectively put food on the table of (and Christmas goodies to children) who otherwise might go without.

We have organised 5 “drop-off” points for 12th December between 10:00 and 12:00 as follows:

  • Ghajn Dwieli Car Park – John Darmanin 99476595
  • Pembroke Parish – John Chircop 79618619
  • Xemxija Kiosk Car Park – James Portelli 79046942
  • Ta’ Qali Car Park (opposite US embassy) – Mark Mifsud 99440318

Conclusion: Advent | Anticipation

Last Sunday was the first Sunday of Advent. Advent is a time of anticipation. The anticipation of Christmas. A time of goodwill.

For those who believe, Christmas finds its fulfillment in Easter which, in turn, is meaningless without the rite of passage of Good Friday.. the ultimate act of giving. So, in a nutshell, Christmas derives its substance solely and directly from an act of selfless giving. And, in giving, we receive.

There is no grey area around this: Christmas is all about giving. The rest is only wrapping and without it, all the lights, colour and noise would be meaningless.

We can change the world one thought at a time, one child at a time, one family at a time, one community at a time, one city, one state and one country at a time,” Bryant McGill.

And in Dillon Burroughs, “God is calling you to change the world one life at a time and one small step at a time. Begin today where you are.”