Every year, hordes of Singaporeans open their wallets to get Christmas gifts for their family, friends and colleagues.
Churches put up Christmas plays reenacting the birth of Jesus Christ, hoping to convert unbelievers to accept the gifts of forgiveness, grace and eternal life.
There is one gift that anyone can give, regardless of how much money you have, what religion you practise (or not), wherever you are, whenever the event suits the occasion.
It is a gift that was brought out in a religious gathering I attended, where instead of reenacting the birth of Christ, this group of believers chose to script a very different sort of Christmas skit.
It started with three colleagues (a manager and subordinate 1 and 2) rushing to the airport to get home in time for Christmas.
In their rush to run to the boarding gate for the last call, the manager accidentally kicked over a box of apples a blind lady was selling at the roadside.
Apples rolled everywhere, and some were bruised or dirtied. The blind lady had no idea what happened, except someone kicked her box off apples over.
The colleagues were very sorry about making a mess.
The manager apologised profusely but he explained he needed to rush off as his flight was already at the last call.
Subordinate 1 wanted very much to help, but decided to follow the manager to make it for the last call.
Subordinate 2 decided to stay and assured his colleagues he would try to book the last flight home for Christmas, although he would miss the current flight.
He helped the blind lady pick up the apples one by one into the box. He also bought the apples that were bruised and dirtied.
The blind lady was very thankful for his kind act, because he had a flight to catch but it missed it to help her.
After Subordinate 2 had finished helping her, he went to book the last flight, only to learn it was full. He then called his wife to explain he wouldn’t be home in time for Christmas.
The skit ended with a sharing from the cast and audience about their thoughts as actors in their respective roles, and similar acts of kindness they encountered in their lives that touched their heart.
Their message was simply, if you are in a position to be kind, consider being kind.
Acts of kindness don’t need to be big and bombastic.
It doesn’t depend on your socioeconomic status, how smart or capable you are and how much resources you have.
It is about opening our hearts enough to notice others in need, and to be kind to them in a way that helps them.
What is your idea of the best Christmas gift?