Give the Gift of Love this Christmas

Christmas, traditionally, has been a religious and cultural holiday where we remember and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

With the modernisation of society, more of us are also beginning to recognise it as a social holiday. The many gatherings between friends and family that take place around this time of year, coupled with the festive atmosphere, make it a perfect period to appreciate your loved ones and let them know how dear they are to you.

That has always been the essence of Christmas, to me. Of course, like any other person, I enjoy giving presents and partake in the revelry of the season. However, I also think it’s important that we remember the real meaning of Christmas.

When Jesus was born, he was laid in a manger and had no proper material amenities. He led a simple life, in which his main purpose was to love God.

Therefore, to truly commemorate Jesus during Christmas, our ultimate gift to someone would be the gift of love.

This tradition of gift giving harks back to, perhaps, the Victorian times, when gifts represented an expression of kindness. The Victorians put a lot of thought into their gifts and ensured that each gift carried a special meaning for its recipient.

Sad to say, as Christmas becomes more and more commercialised, this sentiment behind choosing gifts is lost. I often see people putting together a wish list of items they want. It seems that Christmas has become a time of hankering after material things.

My favourite gift, out of all that I’ve received over the years, is a simple card that my mother gave to me two years ago. In it, she wrote her heartfelt wishes. I treasure that card to this very day. Style and technology change often but simple words continue to hold meaning no matter how much time may have past.

Gifts don’t have to be expensive or elaborate. That simple card made me feel more loved than any pair of shoes or sunglasses would have.

So, this Christmas, I am refocusing myself to remember what’s truly important – expressing my love for the people special to me, God and giving back to the needy.  I hope , through this Gem, I have inspired you to do the same too.

Happy Christmas!

All Wrapped Up in Christmas

Once upon a time, three kings followed a star in the night sky in search of a newborn boy who was prophesised as the Son of God. With them, they bore gifts as an expression of their love and respect for the one who would come to be known as the Son of Man.

On this day, Christ was born. And so was Christmas.

More than 2,000 years later, this concept of giving gifts at Christmas first set by the three kings has prevailed, even if the true meaning of Christmas has been somewhat lost amongst the mountains of discarded wrapping paper and quick-fix presents.

From where has this pressure to give presents at Christmas come? From department stores with their glittering window displays and ‘Christmas Sales’? Money-hungry business people capitalising on the commercialisation of an ancient tradition held close to the hearts of many? From social norms, that say those who don’t give presents during Christmas are frowned upon as being thoughtless and uncaring? Whatever happened to ‘it’s the thought that counts’?

Before I go on, I should state that I am not a Scrooge and I certainly do not say ‘bah humbug’ whenever someone offers me Christmas cheer. I think Christmas brings out the best in people and today, even atheists will wish their friends and family a ‘Happy Christmas’ during this festive season. This is great, but do they know what they are saying? Do they know the meaning of Christmas? Whether we’re talking about the word or the holiday, you simply cannot have Christmas without Christ.

The very thing about Christmas is that it should be a time to remember Christ and give him thanks. The giving of gifts should be to express our love and respect for the people we hold dear. It is, after all, the season of giving. But let’s think about why we are giving the gift in the first place. Did you wander aimlessly around the shopping centre with a list of names, trying to find something – anything – that you could buy so in order to cross off another name on the list? This is not the meaning of giving. In essence, this type of present is nothing but gift-wrapped emptiness, devoid of meaning and emotion.

The best gift I have received this year was from my mother. She gave me a beautiful card with even more beautiful words inside. She said that she couldn’t think of anything to ‘buy’ for me that would bring me happiness; but she knew without a doubt what to ‘give’ me that would make me truly happy. She wrote in her card that her gift to me was that she would continue to meditate and devote herself to her prayers. She said she would give thanks to the Lord. She said she knew that this would please me more than anything else, and so this is what she was giving to me for Christmas.

What my mother gave me was something lasting. Something that was only for me and something that showed just how much she loves and cares for me. What my mother gave me made me happy, far more than a set of matching socks, a new alarm clock, or a new car. For Christmas, my mother gave me love.

There is nothing wrong with buying gifts for people at Christmastime. But ask yourself what the gift means – to you and to the person you are giving it to. The focus should not be on the gift, but on the expression of love and care for another human being that the gift represents. The gift doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate. But it must have meaning.

To each and all of my readers, my gift to you is this Gem. May you take just a few moments to ponder the question of what the people around you mean to you, and by doing so, may you give them a gift that truly matters this year.
Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and successful new year to you all.

Joseph Bismark

Group Managing Director, QI Ltd

Celebrate Christ this Christmas

I would like to greet all of you by saying “Merry Christmas!”. You may realise that I am not wishing you a Merry Xmas’. Today is Christmas Day, and not Xmas Day. Let us not cross out the name of Christ in this wonderful season.

Let us continue to remember Christ’s very short but meaningful life on Earth.

Jesus Christ was the greatest networker of all time.

He was the true fisher of men. He appeared more than 2000 years ago and yet, His influence prevails today and is felt throughout the world. Even the atheist uses the calendar that is based around the incarnation of Christ.

He taught us to “mind the things that are above and not the things on Earth”. He taught us that “we are not flesh and blood, but rather the spirit inside the body”.

Christmas is not only a season of peace and joy. Christmas is also a season when we can ask forgiveness for our trespasses, and learn to forgive others who have trespassed against us.
Christmas has become so commercialised, that somewhere along the way we have forgotten the person whom we are celebrating: Christ

So, on Christmas Day (not Xmas Day), let us not forget Christ. Christ is the reason for the season. It is not our birthday today. It is Christ’s birthday. Let this day not be the focus for our own self-enjoyment. Let this day be homage to Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us celebrate this day in its true spirit of giving. The most valuable gift you can every give a person is love, compassion and the truth. Material gifts will just perish and in the great scheme of things, will not really make a person happy.

Please take a moment to ponder… Let us not lose the true meaning of Christmas.

Merry Christmas and a Joyous Holiday to all!


Joseph Bismark
Group Managing Director
QI Ltd