Christmas is, and always has been, my favorite holiday. I love the bright colors, the joyous singing, the warm greetings, and the feeling of warmth that this season holds. No other season has this power over me.
You may not celebrate Christmas, and it is your right to celebrate whatever holiday you observe. This post is about the holiday I observe, and whether it is different from yours or not, please open your minds and allow its meaning to enter in.
As a child, I was taught the importance of Christmas. Caring and giving without expectation of receiving anything in return were the two most important things to teach a child. This day in time, those things need to be shown more and more. After reading the article above, I was reminded of this. I am glad that Pope Benedict XVI discussed this modern Christmas celebration in his mass. Toppie Smellie (The Smellcast Podcast) discussed this on an installment of his Christmas series.
Commercialism has taken hold of this sacred holiday and has turned it into something selfish and vile. Instead of being taught to be humble, children are being taught that whatever they want, they can have. We saw the many stupid things that were done on Black Friday by parents who obviously believe this way of thinking. Instead of accepting the fact that she may not be able to purchase an XBox 360 for her child, the woman in California stooped to such a low level of inflicting pain on others to fulfill her own selfishness…and in the end, the selfishness of her child. That’s just the horrible side of the shopper.
Businesses are cashing in on this thought process. It’s as if the leaders of retail companies are sitting back and saying, “Hey, look at these people. They will do anything to get into our stores when we run these insane sales. I wonder what we can do next year.” I, for one, did not take part in this insane ritual. On Black Friday, my behind is sitting on the couch. That’s a day I let ignorance carry on without me. There is nothing in any store that means so much to me that I have to place myself in danger to get to it. NOTHING! I have told people this year that they would not be receiving anything from me. And, that’s the honest truth. We purchased something for the two kids next door. That was our donation to the economy this year.
Thinking back to my childhood, I am reminded how thankful I was to receive the gifts my parents were able to give me. We were not wealthy people. We were not poor as we had enough money for the food we ate, the clothes we wore, and our house. My father worked for us to have these things. My mother was a stay at home mom. We were asked at Christmas what we wanted and we would say a couple of things. It was understood that these things were only wishes and were not promised. My parents usually found a way to get most of the things we wanted. Many times, if they couldn’t find exactly what we asked for, something of equal purpose would be provided. The three of us had no issues with that.
As a young child on Christmas Eve, my mother would take chairs from the kitchen and sit them in front of the tree. She would take the presents brought to us by “Santa Clause” and set them up in the chair. It was a display on a country level! Beside the chairs, there would be brown paper grocery bags…one for each of us. In these bags would be nuts, fruit, and candy. In many ways, those bags and their contents were more important to me than the things displayed in the chair. These things were sustenance. These things could be enjoyed and also fill my stomach. Even at a young age, I knew there were thousands of children around the world who were not able to enjoy such things. I felt terribly blessed to have these things.
At this time of year, I for one, celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the true meaning and observance of this season. Each year, I like to read in the Book of Luke Chapters 1-2. It brings everything back into view. The baby in the manger didn’t need the coolest new toy from Fisher Price. His mother wasn’t concerned if her husband was buying her a new shinny ring from Jared. Joseph was not worried whether he was getting the new rifle from Remington or any of the hunting gear to go with it. Whatever they had in their possession was all they needed…other than the little baby lying in that manger.
This Christmas, make sure to give thanks for the things you posses. You have clothes, a home, food, and if you’re reading this, you own some type of electronic device. Think of the unfortunate people in the world who aren’t even capable of having proper food. While you sit at a table in a comfortable home, remember those who are eating with their fingers while sitting on a curb somewhere. Think of those that are sitting in huts made from whatever they can find to stick together to form a shelter. It’s not easy for them but they have learned to deal. Could you do that? Today, all I ask is for you to stop and think.
Have a very Merry Christmas!