Monday, December 23, 2013

Not really

I don’t really want to write about Christmas, about this season that doesn’t seem to mean what I think it’s supposed to mean. I don’t really want to sit here and talk about the things I see every year that lead me to wonder about humanity. How hordes of shoppers descend upon stores to get that one indescribable thing that will be out of style, obsolete, broken or simply unwanted come the following year. I don’t want to talk about the war we wage on each other all in the name of materialism, just so I can say I got what I wanted, wrapped and under the tree. I really do not want to put one more word to paper in favor of, or against the use of, such phrases as Happy Holidays versus The Christmas Season.

It would be infinitely easier for me to take a vacation to a monastery in Tibet than to witness the same carnage year after year. It’s not that I become depressed or anxious. I don’t get angry or frustrated or flustered. It’s more of being disappointed, really. I want to believe that in the deepest recesses of the human spirit there is something far greater than just another wasted trip to the mall to stand in line for the latest temporary fix. My heart and my head tell me to hope, so each year I continue to do so. Each year I see a few things that lead me to believe that we are indeed capable of more than this.

In a world where everything happens so quickly and what happens winds up online even quicker, there is little time to react to most things properly. Yet, Christmas is something that comes every year and following Thanksgiving we typically have at least four weeks to prepare ourselves. My concern is that we seem prone to forgetfulness regarding the insanity that arrives on or around the first of December. Also, unlike any other major holiday, we spend weeks preparing as opposed to just a couple of days. And all of this preparation would be OK, if, in the end the reason why was different from what it seems.

How amazing it would be if we spent four weeks asking those around us, family and stranger alike, what they really needed for Christmas. And instead of mere gifts that come from a store, what if we gave the gift of time or energy? If you’re going to spend the money anyway, take a day off of work and spend it with your kids or with your parents, or God forbid, your neighbors.

To me, first and foremost, Christmas is about the birth of a child. Christmas represents an opportunity for me to give Him something, even though He doesn’t need anything. So, I give Him my heart, just so He can give it back, that I might serve those around me. What I’m left with is a desire to help, serve and love, at a time of the year when it is so easy to wonder what I’m getting.

In the end, Christmas was never meant to be about us anyway. It has always been about someone else, even when we’ve gotten caught up waiting in lines; or writing about it.

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