Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Little Christmas

Something seems a little off this holiday season. Maybe it’s the fact that we haven’t had snow since October, just lots and LOTS of rain—no, that can’t be it. After all, they still have Christmas in warm climates. We still have all the Christmas music, the decorations, the cookies, the parties are underway… so what feels so wrong?

I think I may have figured it out this morning. I heard someone say they wouldn’t spend as much as $13 on gifts for kids. Really, people?! Since when is $13 an unreasonable amount? I understand that all the gift expenses add up, so you want to be careful. I also fully understand that times are tough; nobody knows that better than me! I’m getting creative with my gifting this year and have had to save for a while to make even that much possible.

It seems to me that the greed of the season is what’s leaving that bad taste. When we were kids, we were told not to be greedy and want lots of presents. But now that we’re adults, it’s apparently okay to be greedy and not give lots of presents. This brand of greed seems even more repugnant and is running rampant this year.

Remember that Gift of the Magi story we heard as kids? Or maybe I was the only one who heard it at least once a year for the first 16 years of my life. It’s simply story about giving. Those two people had nothing but love so they gave anyway. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about? Last time I checked, we are celebrating God’s gift of Himself—something which we can never repay and can only hope to reflect.

Gifts don’t have to be big, fancy, expensive displays of cheap affluence. Anyone can buy stuff; that means nothing. That is not what a gift is. Maybe it’s because today is Pearl Harbor Day, but for some reason I seem to be even more sensitive to stark contrast between greed and sacrifice. The Christmas story is full of examples of those two attributes in its characters.

This has been a hard year for everyone. All you have to do is turn on the news to hear about unemployment rates, stocks dropping, Occupy Wall Street… after a year like this, we need a little Christmas spirit more than ever. Everyone seems to be hanging on to materialism even more tightly, when we should really be letting go and focusing on what is really important in life.

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