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AWRIGHT DEN: The greatest gift

Corey Worrell

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For many, the Christmas season is their favourite time of the year. Some see it as a time to give and receive gifts. Some see it as a time to put up the Christmas tree and decorate it and the house with many lights. Some see it as a time to purchase new furniture, change curtains, repaint the house, varnish the furniture and clean the house from top to bottom. Others see it as a time to eat, eat, eat and drink, drink, drink.
Growing up, Christmas was a really cool experience for me. I never really received many material gifts as there were four of us and my mom couldn’t afford it all the time. The week before Christmas, I would always try not to be home or anywhere close to our house in the morning or late evening as I knew my mother wanted us to clean something.
To me, it was like torture. I just got vacation from school and I got to “work”. Each year it would follow the same routine: “Corey and Lowrey (my twin brother), I want all the windows washed, I want around the house clean and all the leaves picked up and the trees trimmed, I want the drain on the house cleared.
“When you are finished, I want help taking down these curtains and putting up these new ones. When you are finished, can you please dust the ornaments and wipe down the TV stand. When you are finished that, bring all the bed sheets, pillowcases and put them in the washing machine and make sure you hang them out when they are finished.
I buy some paint and I want the pedestals and the gallery painted.”
My sisters were busy in the kitchen, seasoning meat, peeling vegetables, grating cheese or anything associated with cooking or baking. I could go on and on as it relates to all that my mom wanted done and I am sure many of you could relate to a lot or all that I have mentioned above.
As much as I didn’t want to do it, I really didn’t have a choice. I grumbled, debated, quarrelled and negotiated, but when all was said and done, I had to do it. My neighbour Kapil and I would meet at the top of the gap on evenings with our faces “bend” with frustration. We decided, “When we got our own homes, no ornaments nah enter we homes and we nah put up curtains.” We planned on tinting our house windows.
Since I got married, I think the latter has changed for me, but knowing Kapil, it still remains.
My mom gave us something greater than material gifts, she gave us love. We had plenty of food during Christmas, we had lots of laughs and a very clean house. In my community where I grew up, Kendal Hill, most of the guys in the neighbourhood would meet at the top of the gap and go around the neighbourhood sampling people’s ham, turkey, chicken, cake, sweet bread, you name it. Some of the neighbours would even give us cases of beer, plus, malts, soft drinks and wines.
As a youth it was a really nice experience, the youth mixed with the older. By the time we had finished visiting most of the houses, we were “paunched”. We spent the rest of night outside chatting, drinking and playing dominoes.
This was what Christmas was for me every year. I spent Christmas 2006 and 2008 in Australia and Haiti, respectively, as a missionary, and even though I enjoyed my times there, I really missed a Worrell’s home and a Kendal Hill Christmas. My Christmas gift from my mom and my community each year was love.
The great religions of the world promote generosity, care and love for others. In Buddhism, one of the seven treasures practitioners must cultivate is generosity. In Judaism, tzedakah, or charity, is the prescription to build a better world, and Jews are brought up to perform mitzvahs, or “good deeds”. The Koran urges followers to help others and give to people in need. In other faiths, such as Hinduism, generosity is lauded and perceived as a possible path to salvation. Christianity says “There are three things that will endure – faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love” (from the book The Gift of Giving)
This Christmas, let’s all give the gift of genuine love.
Merry Christmas, Barbados.
• Corey Worrell is a former Commonwealth youth ambassador.

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