NOTE: This is a post for those of my readers who celebrate Christmas! For everyone else, “Happy Holidays!”
You Can’t Buy Christmas!
I love Christmas. The joy, the wonder, the fun of the season. Putting out the decorations. Practicing family traditions. Singing Christmas carols. Attending a candlelight service. Spending time with family and friends. Wishing for peace for one and all. Telling all my friends—regardless of their faith—“Happy Holidays!”
But I am weary too.
Advertising has been attacking on all levels—mail, online, radio, television—since October. Crazy sales encourage people to buy more, spend more. Shopping seems to overtake the lives of so many, especially since Black Friday and the all-hours-special-deals that continue on, every day. Many are buying gifts because they feel obligated, not to show their care for those special to them. Christmas carols blare from speakers everywhere, and some radio stations are reaching the stage where some play holiday tunes 24 hours a day. Christmas movies lose something when they are played over and over and over again for weeks and weeks before the holiday. All this hectic commotion inevitably triggers editorials and news stories complaining that people are saying “Season’s Greetings!” instead of “Merry Christmas!” Others complain that some government officials put up a holiday tree, not a Christmas tree.
Somehow, I do not think God really cares what seasonal greeting we utter, if it comes from the heart with the true intention of sharing the love, hope, and seasonal lessons of tolerance. I also bet He is rather dismayed by the onslaught of commercials and sales that seem to bring out the worst in people. How can all that hawking of the season be celebrating Christmas? Instead, all this focus on commercialism is overwhelming. For me, it undermines the true meaning of Christmas as it seems to forget the wonder, joy and fun of the season.
Two years ago, Pope Benedict lamented the loss of the Christmas Spirit as well: “Today Christmas has become a commercial celebration, whose bright lights hide the mystery of God’s humility. . . . Let us ask the Lord to help us see through the superficial glitter of this season, and to discover behind it the child in the stable in Bethlehem, so as to find true joy and true light. . . . Let us strip away our fixation on what is material, on what can be measured and grasped.”
Now, don’t get me wrong. I really love Christmas. I give presents and watch the same special movies every year. I hold an Open House and enjoy seeing family and friends to celebrate the season. I don’t bake, but I love that my sister does. I do have special goodies that are part the annual celebration—and I eat too much. I love when I find the right gift for someone special. I hum Christmas songs throughout the day—and read special Christmas stories at night. Some years I even send Christmas cards.
But I also need to remind myself each year to slow down, to focus on the message of the season not the trappings, and to really appreciate the Christmas lessons of love and hope. I need to re-learn each year the lesson Grinch stumbles upon at the end of his story: “Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more.”
So, right now, with a little more than a week until Christmas, my gift to you is a reminder to slow down and enjoy the holiday. Hug those you love—and tell them you love them. Put more time into being with your family than in shopping for them. Have fun. Marvel at the promise of the season. Really celebrating Christmas is the best gift of all.
This first video can be reached via the following link. It is really fun–these kids will help you remember the fun of the season. A Great Lip Syncing Performance
WHAT DO YOU DO TO CELEBRATE THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS?