When I was younger, Christmas was a joyful time. Our tree was a cedar cut from the field near our home. The lights had to be untangled, and bulbs replaced. Gifts were very small and did not cost much, as our family was not rich. My mother would buy socks, aftershave lotion, handkerchiefs for the boys. The girls most likely would receive pajamas or some other small item. These were great gifts, and we were happy. The gifts were small but given with so much love. Anyone who came to our home during this time left with a gift – whether it was a family member or neighbor. My mother made it happen with very little money. It was an act of love and kindness on her part. The big part of Christmas was about going to church and participating in the Christmas play (a huge production in my mind), singing carols, hearing the story of Jesus being born in Bethlehem. Life was so much simpler then. It was a time we looked forward to, enjoyed; and memories were made.
Now we are hustling and bustling about for weeks and weeks, and we never get quite ready. There is always something else we want to decorate, purchase, or bake, or one more present to wrap. At this time of year, we are all wondering, “What should I give to my friend for Christmas or what should I give to my sister or brother, or even my neighbors?” These decisions are stressful, tiring and time consuming during the pre-holiday season. By the time Christmas arrives, we are all frazzled and just worn out!
How did this happen to a season that should be anticipated, enjoyed, and shared? I think we all know the reason. We have let the commercialism overtake the real reason for Christmas. Our gift giving has been taken to a different level as we struggle to find the “right gift.” We have lost the joy and happiness that should be a central part of the celebration.
During this joyous holiday season, let us take a moment to stop and be thankful for what we have, to give to those less fortunate, to show kindness to a stranger, and to love unconditionally. These items will return to you many times over. The gift you feel in your heart will be the best gift you could ever receive.
Most important of all, give thanks and remember that, “The reason for the season is the birth of Jesus.” This just may make your Christmas like the ones I experienced from “simpler times.”