A Present Heart For Christmas
Having lived a split life between the northern and southern hemisphere, I have become very accustomed to spending Christmas in two very opposing ways. One is down south, usually around 32 degree heat and the family can be found in the pool, playing water volleyball, in between grabbing a cold turkey sandwich and watermelon for dessert. Whereas, when up north it's a far more cinematic 3 degrees, cosy fires are an absolute given and wearing horrendous christmas jumpers are compulsory.
These two varied christmas experiences hold different pros and cons, and although I am starting to favour spending December 25th in the cold, I am happy to report that my favourite thing about Christmas has nothing to do with my geography from the equator but rather the positioning of the community around me.
I am a firm believer in community. Whether it's your family, friends, the church or your insta-followers. Community is key to living a healthy and inspiring life... Of course I'm joking about your insta followers - although it's great, if it's your only community I'd suggest finding some humans to give you a greater sense of belonging... Okay. Back to it.
To belong. To be seen. At the end of the day, it's what we're all seeking in one form or another.
If you're my friend on Facebook or you're from Durban, South Africa you would of seen the hashtag 'livelikeAndy'. Andy Carrie's larger than life soul recently took his party to heaven and left a giant Andy sized hole in many different communities.
If you didn't know Andy a quick flick through his social platforms will show you how loved he was. The words shared by thousands of people is testimony to the great person he was and how his life has completely exploded the community and is reaching across the seas to impact people all over the world. My favourite thing about Andy was his ability to make me feel seen. Something that many people who knew him will agree with, and a quality that is unfortunately far and few between.
I met Andy when I was still just an annoying 11 year-old kid, small and insignificant. Andy was one of the older "cool" kids, a neighborhood friend of my brothers and although Andy was never one of my closest friends, he was the guy that was always around. His fiery nature was hard to miss and growing up in such close proximity in the wonderful city we both called home, and having friendship groups that often over lapped meant often bumping into each other and no matter when or where, throughout the years Andy would always make sure to stop and greet me, as he did with so many people. Andy's life is a gift to anyone that knew him, and still is to so many people that wish they had the chance. Andy's legacy and way of doing things will live on forever. The strength that the Carrie family have shown in this time will be an inspiration for years to come. Andy Carrie will forever have the ability to shift an atmosphere, something we should all strive towards doing, for ourselves and for the many people around us that have yet to experience such infectious love and life.
So readers, be present. As cheesy as it sounds, really see people. It's small and it's free and it might be the greatest gift you ever give.
Christmas is a great excuse and reason to give being fully present a try.
Put your phone down, be intentional with the questions you ask people and be aware of lending a helping hand. As romantic and idyllic it is to have the family around a big table, celebrating the birth of a King while sinking mince pies and turkey, it can be tough. Often with family comes complexity, and simplicity can only return if we choose to love.
And with love - people are seen,
and when people are seen - community is born,
and in community - belonging begins to set in to the foundation of the human heart.