The Editor Writes – December
Belonging | ‘To feel comfortable, happy or accepted’
The hustle and bustle of the Christmas season is well under way. What I love about this time is the sense of belonging I feel when having the opportunity to relax and enjoy the company of family and friends.
However, I have to confess, besides that, in recent years my enthusiasm for this festive period has waned. Now, I’m not a scrooge by any stretch of the imagination (!) but in some ways, I find the commercialisation and franticness of Decembe overwhelming. Wandering through shopping malls, feeling like 1 in a million, overwhelmed by the Christmas marketing on every possible platform.
What does it mean to belong?
Whether our default mindset is to be independent – either through choice or for survival, a sense of belonging and acceptance from others is still a basic human need. From personal experience, when I’m among people who I feel love, celebrate and accept me as I am – I feel liberated, inspired and motivated. During the hard times of life, having people to rely on and encourage me, is something I will never take for granted and could never do without.
Where do you feel like you truly belong? Is that dependent on what you do, what you can give, or how you look or what you have?
Building a sense of belonging
I appreciate that this sense of belonging is not something that everyone has encountered but I believe it’s never too late to foster. It’s often easy to see where we are different to others or create cliques, but this year in particular by great examples in my life, I’ve been challenged to have a different mindset. Letting go of judgement and pre-conceived notions, valuing what people bring to the table and looking at what we can learn from them, breed acceptance which in turn build community.
For example in my local Church the other day, I got chatting to an amazing woman in her 60s. On the surface, we may not have had much in common but from talking to her I realised she had experienced so much in life and had so much wisdom that encouraged me tremendously.
Not just for Christmas, but moving forward, I’d challenge us, even if at one stage or just one person, to say ‘yes’ to embracing someone who is totally different to us and I believe we’ll be amazed at how it adds to our life.
The Christmas message and ultimate acceptance
MAGNIFY came out of knowing Jesus and having a sense of belonging which we wanted to share with others. The sense of understanding of who I truly am and was created to be, the sense of purpose I had and the community I found with others who shared this revelation completely transformed my life.
Christmas is a time when no doubt most of us will be invited to a carol service or a Christmas focused gathering. It might be that you’ve heard the message of Christmas before, or the true meaning is something you’re interested in, but I’d love to extend a personal invitation to you to explore the impact the birth of Jesus can have on your life.
The motivation for building MAGNIFY is because of the love, grace and acceptance and the ‘family’ I’ve found. My desire is that everyone would have the opportunity to at least explore what this could mean for them.
So it just remains for me to wish you a very wonderful, peaceful and blessed Christmas. On behalf of all of our team, thank you for all your support and encouragement this year – we are truly grateful.
Ruth Yimika Awogbade, MAGNIFY Editor-In-Chief