Thursday, 14 December 2006

What is Christmas About For You?

Are you ready for the holidays? Are your lights up, is your shopping done, your travel plans, meal plans and gift lists finished? If you are ready, you’re a freak of nature that I envy.
It won’t be long before stress piles up over the who-what-when-and-where of buying Christmas gifts for those we love.

Millions of dollars will be spent on stuff: gifts, food, alcohol, decorations, travel. Our credit cards will be full of finance charges for the new high balances, and the true “joy” of the season will show itself.

Isn’t that a lovely thought?

Let’s go back about two thousand years for a moment. Originally, this holiday was about peace, wonder and hope. About being unconditional and celebrating the season for what it really is, man made or not. Take an example from the Wise Men.

Gold, frankincense and myrrh; they may have been considered rare, high end gifts of the time, but what are frankincense and myrrh? They are both resins -- dried tree sap. Can you imagine? Dried tree sap for the King of Kings? Those Wise Men had some nerve. Today, Jesus would get an I-Pod, a 50-inch plasma screen television and an Escalade, all pimped out and ready to roll.

But, Jesus doesn’t need all the big stuff, and really, neither do we. Tree sap was good enough for the Big Guy, and it should be good enough for us.

So, at the risk of crashing the Canadian economy, I want to pose a challenge to all of us crazy people running around trying to make those we care about happy with ‘stuff,’ temporary happiness that it is.

Make this season about family, friends, unconditional love and acceptance of everyone in every circumstance. There’s really no good reason that we need to approach bankruptcy to make Christmas ‘worthwhile’ for everyone we love.

Since just about all of us do not rank as prophets or kings or saviours, what right do we have to demand more than what is freely given to us by people that love us? Why are we so selfish, so disappointed when we don’t get what we ‘want’?

It’s time we teach ourselves, teach our children (and let it make an impression this time) that Christmas is not about the presents, nor should it ever be.

Celebrate that your family surrounds you, that your belly is full, and that you have any gifts at all under your gorgeously decorated tree. Celebrate your health, your sense of humour, and the job that you have to pay for all this Christmas stuff. There are entirely too many people who have nothing to celebrate at all.

Although there are many charities to choose from, why not choose a holiday random act of kindness for a change? Think of those less fortunate than you, and give anything of your time, talents or treasures.

You’d be surprised how warm last season’s coat will keep someone who has nothing to warm them at all.