I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that we are in full festive swing at the moment.
We have our tree, we have the girls’ stockings, we have the crib. This last week has been busy but enjoyable, what with playgroup/nursery parties and visits to Father Christmas. And obviously it goes without saying that we also have two very excited little girls.
We are having presents, we’re having Christmas dinner, everything that goes with the traditions of the day. But at the same time, we are aware that not everyone this Christmas will be as fortunate. And while we’re trying to make it as magical as we can for our girls, we’re also trying to make them aware of the experiences of others.
The recent happenings in Aleppo are what first made me think that we have a responsibility as parents to share certain aspects of the news with our children.
We haven’t gone into great detail but we have told them that there are children in the world who will be sad at Christmas time. Children with no presents, children who might have no mummy or daddy.
It’s not a nice thing to have to tell them, (just as it’s not a nice thing for us to see and hear) but it’s a fact, it’s happening and ignoring it won’t help anyone.
Our girls understand (simply) about giving money to charity, about helping poor people, they’ve even given me a few toys that they no longer play with to share with others. And now we’ve started talking to them about world events.
Obviously this is on a very basic level. To talk about actual happenings and paint graphic pictures in the heads of two very young girls may do more harm than good, however, I do believe they need to be aware.
We have begun to include the poor children in Aleppo and other war-torn countries in our prayers and the other night, our three-year-old (with a sad look on her face) said, ‘maybe God will send them a new mummy or a new daddy’.
Their innocence is beautiful and their prayers are sincere, it’s humbling when they show concern for others.
No, it’s not fair that we live here and they live there. That some people are going through such turmoil while we’re just watching it on the news. However, everybody suffers, just in different ways, and life was never meant to be ‘fair’. I believe what we need to do is help where we can, donate where we can and pray.
We will not take the excitement out of Christmas, especially for our children and we are going to treasure spending time with the family that we love. We know how blessed we are. Everyone who has loved ones around them is fortunate and should enjoy their time together.
But we will take a moment at some point to think about the poor children who don’t.
We will make sure, amid the merriment and excitement, that we are still, and that we dedicate some quiet time and some prayers to those that need it. The girls’ day won’t be ruined at all, but in their own small way, they will be showing compassion.
Here’s hoping that peace reaches everyone this Christmas time, even in some small way.
And doesn’t everyone deserve that?