The Corruption of Christmasabracad, · Categories: christmas, jesus, spirituality
The Holiday season is fast approaching. That time of year when we remember the birth of Jesus, a worthwhile celebration indeed. For Christians Jesus is God incarnate, but for others this truly enlightened teacher shared a message of love and peace that still has the power to promote a better world if only it were practiced a little more. The first step to that is awareness, and in that sense Christmas remains valuable.
Yet the origins of this season go back way before the birth of Christ, to an era when mankind was far closer to nature. December 21st marks the winter solstice, the shortest day. A day to be in front of a warm fire, with loved ones, looking forward to the lengthening days that immediately followed.
But hasn't the season lost much of its true meaning(s)? Every year sees Christmas overshadowed by ever-increasing degrees of commercialism. Rather than being allowed to reflect on Jesus' teachings, or the new start marked by the solstice, we are bombarded by psychological marketing tricks designed to part us from our hard-earned dollars.
The exchange of gifts is no doubt based on the gold, frankincense and myrrh presented to the baby Christ by the Magi. But these days we're expected to rush out and buy this that and the other for folk we don't see from one year to the next, and if we happen not to the guilt-trip kicks in as we get likened to Dickens' Scrooge.
Many people finish the holiday season with holiday debt (does 'credit crunch' ring any bells?) And the whole business is even more unpalatable this time as a lot of those being persuaded to spend face growing financial uncertainty in the New Year.
So, without becoming Scrooge incarnate, let's exercise a little realism and restraint.
It's oft said Christmas is a time for kids, and it is they that probably derive the most pleasure from the season with dreams of Father Christmas riding through the sky on a gift-laden sleigh. But remember kids, being far wiser than adults, don't gain pleasure in proportion to expenditure. There's the old story of the kid leaving the expensive toy untouched while having a rare old time with its box!
The old saying is it's the thought that counts, and the most important thing is acknowledging loved ones simply by remembering them and making the effort to show you care. Outside your very closest circle a card (or even an e-card) does the trick. Better still, find the time to actually say hello, in person, by telephone or even with the new-fangled Internet.
Despite the billions spent on exchange of gifts I always feel it particularly important to make charitable donations at this time of year. How about making your donations in honor of your friends and relatives? Your dollars will doubtless do greater good that way.
Enjoy the holidays but reject the commercial pressures and the guilt trips. Rediscover the simplicity of a break from work, being with loved ones, indulging in a little extra food and drink... You might have the best Christmas ever.
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