Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.” – Norman Vincent Peale
I wonder if he’d still think that if Peale could see us today with our Black Fridays and Christmas specials at spas, all demanding we spend more, have more, be more. Hmmm… I have an advantage in that I remember when he was right.
Thanksgiving, which comes just before the Christmas Season, once was celebrated with no Christmas decor up and no raving sales to buy buy buy before it’s all gone. (And really, how is it possible for “stuff” to be all gone when manufacturers are simply going to make more of it? My father-in-law use to say there was always going to be a good buy. He’s right!) And, Children may have already been dreaming about what Santa Claus would bring them as they ate their turkey and stuffing; but they did not dream about a high priced techie item… It was a Red Rider BB Gun or a doll. If they dared to dream bigger, it was for maybe a musical instrument or a microscope… Something that actually meant you had to instill a habit of learning. I like that about who we use to be.
As Hubby and I began raising our own children, I was appalled when they wanted four-wheelers! I wondered if it was just the neighborhood in which we lived, or was the world really changing that much! And let’s be clear… Those kids of ours did NOT get four-wheel vehicles; they got bicycles which required exercise! We did things like baking sugar cookies cut out in different shapes and hung them on our tree… On Christmas morning they were allowed to eat as many of those cookies as they wanted throughout the day. And, you may be wondering if I’d lost all sense of healthy eating by doing that, but no… 1.) It was Christmas Day and they should have some control over their world. 2.) I cut the sugar content in half when the cookies went on the tree, so they were sweet but not enough to drive them into an energy frenzy. Another thing… On Christmas morning, Hubby and I served them sparkling cider in the good glasses with all kinds of their favorite donuts. It was the only day they got to have sugar like this. At all. I believed then and still believe that some foods and events should be savored and set aside. After all, what makes something special if you do it all the time, right? Finally, our family went to church on Christmas Eve and celebrated the birth of Christ. Good times!
But that was then and this is now. Now, we seem to concentrate on buying and selling. We tend to think of having, instead of putting our thoughts on what and how much we can give to others. Giving has become a token effort. Rewind! Christmas is about giving. God gave us a Savior in the form of a child. And whether you believe that or not, Christmas is still about giving, not receiving. It is about celebration not shopping. It is about good examples in family life and celebrating that good life by healthy giving. It is about love and not hate or envy. And, maybe we think we’re not hateful or that we envy, but if profit is our Christmas motive then we are in the wrong place. If we’re looking at what other people get and how little we have, that’s called envy. If we’re mad as heck at the guy that cut us off on the freeway and yelling at the kids because they’re filled with excitement and a little more rambunctious, well that’s being hateful. People can riot with hate on the streets and they can also riot with hate in their hearts.
So what can we do about it? More specifically, what can I do about it, because after all I should start with me, yes? ) And you should start with you.) I can start the day with a smile and be thankful I can breathe and have life! I can be kind to my fellow man and have good things to say! I can give what I can afford in the form of gifts without guilt and be happy with that. I can help when I see there’s a need… Because truly, life is better when we give of ourselves instead live with entitlement on our lips and guilt in our souls.
It is 8:06 in the morning. It’s December 4th and I’m alive with a nice little Christmas tree in the next room I don’t have a ba-zillion lights up on the house but I have light in my heart and light for doing better for those in need. And, it doesn’t matter that everybody doesn’t see me doing the good things I will do today, because in the end the only one who needs to see me is me. I know when I’ve been kind and done well. I have that smile on my face for a reason… It’s the Christmas Season and in my heart I still see life as my parents and grandparents see it… Through the eyes of Christ with joy for everyone, whether you’re Christian or not.
one more thing… For those who are not Christians, maybe it’s tough to pass through this time of year. Or maybe you don’t have much and you’re depressed because you think you can’t enter into the celebration. I understand not having much, I’ve been there. Think again on this: Christmas is a time to share… And, whether you’re Christian or not and whether you have a bundle of cash or not, can’t we be festive together? Can’t we do for each other one thing… Live and let live in a kind and beautiful way without opinions and entitlement and all the my dog’s bigger than your dog attitude? Can’t we just “be.”
Christmas is not about possessions… It’s about choosing to be happy and good and sharing that with our fellow man.
So as we head into this season of joviality I wish you peace.
May your day be filled with a quiet soul and a heart filled with love.
Carolyn Thomas Temple