I was tidying up my blog the other day and found something I'd written in one of my old Newsflash posts that got me thinking all over again. In Spring I wrote:
Money isn't the problem - it's how and what we choose to value that's the problem. When we value new over enduring and flashy over beautiful. Money is merely a symbol of how we value the world around it and our fellow man. What's disturbing in the modern world is how distorted those values can become, but that isn't money's fault.
If we choose to accept that a "celebrity"earns millions and many dedicated hard-working people not enough to live on... that's not money's fault - it's our value system.
If we choose to spend on items we don't need, purely because the media say we have to have them... that's not money's fault - it's our value system.
The power of good or evil lies in what we choose to value, not in the inanimate.
...but sometimes it seems as if the modern world is trying to make us believe that the true measure of our love for each other is best counted in bank notes.
Sometimes I worry that with all the media hype we're in danger of forgetting that it's not about how much we spend. It's about how much we want those we love to understand how much we value them; and sometimes we can choose the easy route of just wrapping any old thing for that relative we love instead of giving them what they'd really treasure - a visit when they're lonely, a thank you for all they've taught us, a hug when they're feeling sad...
I'm betting everyone reading this knows of someone who'd really appreciate a visit more than a gift, or a phone call more than a card. And we always mean to get around to it... but somehow it's just so much faster and easier to send the box with the card saying "love from..." than actually take the time and energy to go over in person.
So here's my Festive challenge to us all - this year I'm challenging everyone to spend less... but do more! Whether it's just picking up the phone to call that old aunt you tend to avoid because she never stops talking or whether it's going over to help your neighbour with that task you really know he needs help with. Or maybe volunteer for a day. This year there are hundreds of charities who need help in all sorts of ways.