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Krista, one of your gifts to me this year was Alain de Botton. As he notes, these Christmas rituals, are not only pre-Jesus but pre-God. Gifting is also pre-human. Christmas and gifting-so complicated, so rich, so meaningful. I view it as a time to marvel at the complexity of the universe at every level, particularly my own stratum, as a Great Ape.
I believe we are animals, living in a complex, interdependent world. Gifting is important for the survival of our closest relatives, other primates. It was important for our human ancestors. And it continues to be important to those less fortunate than us.
At this time, some of us live in a miraculous environment of abundance and safety, which allows us the luxury of stepping back to examine the dark side, the pre-narrative side of this pro-social behavior. Unlike our ancestors, we can choose to not follow our group’s gifting expectations and will not die, if ostracized by them. We will not starve, if gifted insufficiently by our leaders to make it through the dark, barren winter. (Not yet, anyway.)
I give thanks for this abundance, freedom and security which allow me to give only as an expression of love, joy and appreciation. WHAT A GIFT!