Christmas; according to all the hundreds of films, commercials and even literature we should be home for the holidays’. Why is it so crucial to advertising executives to sell the idea of being in the bosom of our family with beautiful snow falling outside during this time of year?
Let us take time to consider the very first nativity, as in the original nativity of which all our Christmas carols and images are supposedly based on: Mary and Joseph alone in a strange land during the census in Bethlehem. Were there Norfolk pine trees sprayed with glitter to enhance the poignancy of the moment? Was there anyone in this desert environment snuggled in fleece? Huge red poinsettias carpeting the temple; most definitely not, poinsettias like coffee, potatoes and, yes even chocolate are a New World discovery and were not available in the Holy Land.
We as rational individuals should take a moment to consider how we lost control and why this celebration of the birth of a savior has gotten so far from the original event. Commerce, plain and simple; people will be buying gifts to give even if they do not believe Jesus Christ is their personal savior. What are we to do?
The answer my friends is an extremely personal one, but here‘s an idea; next year do the exact opposite of what the advertisements are berating us to do. For example my husband and I one year for Christmas rented an apartment for the holidays in Paris. We did not know anyone there and we did not have a tree to decorate, but what we did have was time in the Cathedral of Notre-Dame during Christmas Eve Mass. The service was in Latin and French and I am not fluent, but I have gone to church on many Christmas Eve’s and I am pretty sure I know what the message was. Was it one of the most memorable experiences I have ever had at Christmas? YES! Would I do it again? YES! As often as retailers try to guilt us in to spending more than we should, commerce is not my religion, nor is the mall my place of worship. To be completely honest I feel closest to our creator on a quiet beach or hiking up a mountain more than I ever will in a manmade structure; however the Cathedral of Notre-Dame is a spectacular achievement of humankind and I felt honored that on one of the most holy days in the Christian calendar the doors were open to little ole me.
If a holiday has become a chore instead of a celebration than we each need to take a step back from being coerced into doing the opposite of what our heart tells us to do. Charity is an excellent way of expressing the love we feel for others at this time of year. Have a wonderful person in your life impossible to buy for? Discover their favorite charity and make a donation in their name. Green is always the right color and generous is always the right size when it comes to giving a gift that will continue to give to others and isn’t that the reason for the season?