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Thursday 24 December 2015

#UnwrapChristmas With Kindred Spirits

It only takes a spark to get the fire going.

And soon all those around can warm up in its glowing.

That’s how it is with God’s love,

Once you have experienced it

You want to sing

You feel like spring

You want to pass it on…

A few of us gathered together for Secret Santa tidings, divided by names and united through a common Christmas spirit of sharing. And it is in this spirit that we bring this blog chain to you.

I am thankful to Apoorva Kapoor for passing on the baton of spreading Christmas joy and spirit to me.

And now it is my turn, as I Unwrap Christmas with all you Kindred Spirits on my blog. 

6.00 p.m, 24th December, 2015

On this festive eve, as I ponder what this wonderful celebration means to me, I am reminded of a very soulful tale I read as a little girl. 

Gather around ye folks, both old and young, on this cold Christmas eve. 
I bring you a tale that is old yet evergreen, to warm your hearts and kindle a flame. 
It is the tale of the Happy Prince and his faithful friend the Little Swallow.

Many of you may be familiar with this one, but even if you have read it, read it once more with me, maybe with the li'l ones.....

This beautiful tale is not of the living Happy Prince who led a blissful, woe-free life within the Palace of Sans-Souci and died as such. And yet it is the story of the same; the ever-smiling Happy Prince, who after his death is immortalized as a statue inlaid with precious stones, covered in gold leaves and placed high on a pedestal overlooking the city.
From his vantage position, the 'Happy' Prince is compelled to see the miseries of human suffering that move even his inanimate self to tears.

Image Source

A little Swallow who is delayed in his migration to the warm lands of Egypt due to trysts of the heart, finds makeshift shelter under the large statue of the Happy Prince.
While he is preparing to join his friends, he is drawn by the Prince's unhappiness at all the suffering in the city that he sees from atop. He agrees to the Prince's plea to deliver a precious ruby from his sword hilt to a poor seamstress with an ailing son, and thus alleviate their travails. As he returns from doing this act of charity, the Swallow feels warm all over, despite the cold - it is the warmth of a kind act, informs the Prince.
The next day as he plans to start on his journey to the Land of the Nile, the Prince begs him to stay over and deliver one of his eyes, made of beautiful blue sapphire, to an impoverished playwright. The reluctant Swallow does so, and his sympathy for the suffering, increases.
The following day again as the Swallow prepares to fly forth, the Prince requests him to pluck off his other sapphire eye to help out a poor little match-seller. The Swallow though unhappy about doing this, is compelled to do so and delivers the sapphire to turn around the poor girl's fortune.
Now that the Prince is totally blind, the loyal little Swallow decides to stay with him forever. 
The weather gets colder, but the Prince and the Swallow, are helping to warm many hearths everyday, by distributing one by one, the gold leaves covering the Prince's body. 
Soon all the gold leaves are given away, and by now the winter snow and frost have truly set in. The poor faithful Swallow, frozen and unable to bear the cold any longer, just about manages to fly up to kiss the Prince goodbye and falls dead at his feet! The shock of the dear Swallow's death, breaks the leaden heart of the Prince. 
The townspeople decide to pull down the bare grey lack-luster statue of the Prince, and dispose of it along with the body of the Swallow.
When God in Heaven asks one of his Angels to bring him the two most precious things from the city, the Angel brings him the broken leaden heart of the Prince and the body of the dead Swallow! And God is well-pleased with the Angel's choice!        

Read the complete story of 'The Happy Prince' by Oscar Wilde published in 1888.

That was so lovely and yet so sad wasn't it?
Well, the story is but allegorical. The message it conveys is that, 

What little good we do when we are alive, is what endears us to God

The story highlights the importance of Love and Charity in our lives.
Love and Charity that are synonymous with the spirit of Christmas. 

Let us help unravel the true spirit of Christmas, by sharing our love and being generous in helping our fellowmen in need. 
It need not be a big act of generosity, small acts of kindness qualify as well! 
Loving words to one and all, affection for the little ones, patience with the old and compassion for the needy.
Let us inculcate this spirit in our young ones from early on....

A beautiful quote I read,

Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time!
- Laura Ingalls Wilder

And indeed, year after year I am excited about bringing in the Christmas fervor, delighting in the beautiful Christmas tree, basking in the glow of a perfect Christmas bake and mostly reveling in spreading warmth and smiles across the lives of all I can reach out to, as I Unwrap Christmas yet another time! 

May all of you lovely folks out there, reading this, have a merry Christmas and a Glorious New Year ahead!

Image Credit: Corinne Rodrigues

A Big Thank You to the two superwomen, behind this wonderful Secret Santa initiative, the lovely Richa Singh  and the effervescent Corinne Rodrigues for motivating the whole team with their infectious energy and enthusiasm. Thanks! Stay blessed!

 And now, I invite my friend Ajay Kontham to spread the message of Christmas and New year on his blog.....

I hope my Secret Santee enjoys my gift to him/her, just as I enjoyed receiving a gift from my Secret Santa!