I know, I know… SFAM has been slacking horribly lately. No excuse is good enough, BUT I have been a very busy bee. Enough about that. I want to share an article that I wrote several years ago about the holidays. I want to wish EVERYONE a happy season, whether you are religious or not. On these warm December nights, remember that family matters and that there is always someone worse off than you.
Christ is the Reason
Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukkah. Happy Kwanzaa. Happy New Year. All the things that are said in preparation for the holiday season stand before you. Parents save money all year to buy their children the most expensive gifts available. Retailers hire extra help and stock the shelves with items that are sure to please even the savviest shopper. Enough food is prepared to feed a third world country for a month. Men gear up for the not-so-subtle hints from their mates. Women spend all year practicing their credit card maneuvers just for this season. Networks on television put our favorite programs on hiatus so that they can play Christmas movies. Radio stations stop playing the latest and the greatest in order to drum carols into our heads. Trees are perused and cut down to be adorned in the living room of many a home, only to be discarded as rubbish after the holiday. Children dream of the presents that they will get to enjoy at the end of the festivities. Amid all of the chaos of the holidays, it seems that the most important reason for the season has been forgotten.
A long time ago, a young woman gave birth to a son who would be called Jesus. Born in a stable, Jesus entered the world and was placed in a manger. Meanwhile, an angel appeared to three wise men and announced this birth and so the men traveled to Bethlehem. With them, they brought gifts for this baby. A star in heaven guided their way. This is the story of the nativity and the basis surrounding the Christian holiday of Christmas. This young woman did the bidding of a God unseen and delivered a baby that would lead untold numbers of people into a freedom both religious and personal. Because of the faith of one woman, Christians today are able to live in God’s will and spread the word of his gospel. Christmas is an annual reminder that Christ was born for our salvation.
The simple giving of a gift without the expectation of a return is what the most important part of the holiday is. Being grateful for the love of family and friends make the holiday season significantly more blessed. When did this generation lose sight of the meaning of Christmas? When did I lose it? My sister asked for one thing this year for Christmas and that was to get to see me. Last night in my car, I was thinking of the gifts that I was getting my boyfriend and I kept thinking that I hoped he would get me something nice. I call my mother and tell her things that I would like for Christmas. I go to church to please my mother and not for the personal and religious growth that comes from it. Somewhere, along the way, I lost sight of what this season really stands for.
Christmas is not about the cache of gifts that you receive. It is about the gifts that you give. Even an hour of your time working in a soup kitchen or a donation to buy a blanket for the elderly is enough. Christmas is not about rearranging your schedule around the sales at the mall. Instead, make time for family and friends. The season should not be about how many gifts you receive or how much they are worth; it should be about giving back, not only to family and friends, but to Christ and your community.
All too often, we lose sight of what matters most. Most especially during the holidays, it seems people forget the generosity of life and fight over the pettiest things. I hear people fighting over toys, complaining about the traffic, honking their horns because the car ahead slowed down to look at Christmas lights. I see people turn their heads and rush by the Salvation army donation cans, spend hundreds of dollars on their children but pass by the Toys for Tots boxes without a backward glance, and buy the largest turkey available but hesitate to donate a can of beans for the soup kitchens. I fear that our generation has lost the meaning of this special time and has allowed its’ commercialism to overtake the unselfishness that the gift of life given to us by Jesus brought. This holiday season, I urge you to take the time to have a cup of hot chocolate with a child, donate a toy to a child that won’t have a Christmas otherwise, and remember our elderly, who are struggling to stay warm this winter. A few moments of your time and one less toy for your children may not mean much to you, but to the recipient, it could mean the world. God bless and Happy Holidays.