For many in this country it’s an exciting time of year and I am told only 10 shopping days to go for the non jewish world to prepare themselves and make sure they have done all the shopping
Yet many feel tremendous pressure to ensure that they succeed in buying something for everyone in the lead up. And of course more and more people are relying on Amazon to save them the hassles and time and even get it delivered directly to the relatives or friends home
Around this time of year there is always have fierce competition millions are spent to create the most outstanding Christmas commercial and always there are tremendous expectations to see what they have come up with especially from John Lewis –we all recall with fondness the man on the moon a tear jerker followed by buster the boxer- with a dog dancing on a trampoline.
But for me the favourite must be the 2011 long wait advert which really was setting the gold standard in Christmas adverts and was a very hard act for even John Lewis to follow.
It shows the young boy who is counting down to the big day and one is led to believe that he is naturally tremendously excited as he looks forward to getting the present of his dreams, the twist at the end is that his excitement is not about getting but giving a present to his parents.
In fact the idea of giving in general is central to Judaism so much so Rabbi Dessler a great Jewish thinker points out that the word for love in Hebrew is “ahava” and the root of that word is “hav” to give- because you love where you give and you give where you love . The more that we give to others the more that we invest ourselves in the other and that creates a real and deep connection and therefore in the Jewish sense presents are a means to present ourselves and therefore the act of giving is far more important than what one gives. But that act of giving has to be genuine and real not tit for tat or matter of reciprocating but a genuine sincere desire to share something of oneself with the other and that creates a bond. Of course, one can give with a present but more meaningful and deeper giving comes from a willingness to be giving in ones approach to the other person, are we willing to compromise are we willing to share our emotions our innermost thoughts and feelings
There is no greater investment that investing in another person, presents comes and go and usually break but true giving is eternal.