It seems like every year at this time emails and letters start to circulate which talk about the"REAL" meaning of Christmas and how "Christ" is being taken out of Christmas. Last night I was going through an email box I don't look through often and found one of these letters addressed to me and my family.
I absolutely believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and obviously, the person who sent this email feels quite strongly that "Christmas" is being "lost" to commercialism, political correctness, et cetera, et cetera.
It got me thinking. There are many ways in which I could respond (and I had to fight my desire to respond because I REALLY REALLY wanted to!) The more I thought about it, the more I realized that people will find whatever it is they are looking for. If I spend my time looking for the ways in which people have "altered" the true meaning of Christmas then I will find evidence to support my belief.
Instead, what I see, is not the deterioration of Christmas, but the spirit of love and of giving and of hope ALL around me. My nephew gathered all the coins he saved in his piggy bank to make a donation to animals in need. My mom coordinates the efforts of her siblings to put together Christmas hampers for needy people in her community. All around there are groups raising money to donate to some cause or another. Buying goats for communities in Africa. Wrapping presents for children in foster care. In my own small community businesses have been raising funds for a family with medical needs and all KINDS of organizations and individuals have been working towards raising money for a playground at the elementary school. My little boy goes to a head start program and his class participated in the food bingo, donating food to the local food bank. Now I will admit, the concept of a bingo card is not one he understands, but his mom had a BALL going through every cupboard in the house to gather as many items from the list as we could find to send with him (in a large box) to school the very next day. Does he completely "get it?" Probably not. He had as much fun going through the cupboard of cans and making additions to the box of donations sitting on the kitchen table.
It has been a thrill to take him into stores and see his enthusiasm for the lights, the music and the joy of choosing something to give to someone else - even if it is his own little brother or his dog, and even if it is something they probably won't even enjoy (I don't think the dog likes extension cords much). It is still HIM choosing something FOR someone else. I am absolutely LOVING how excited he is. I wish everyone could hear him singing the song he is learning for the Christmas Concert at his school tomorrow. He can't even say the words but he knows the tune and when there's a word he knows how to say he says it with all the enthusiasm his little body can muster.
There are opportunities for lessons about giving and sharing EVERYWHERE - if I look for them.
So I could spend my time writing about how UNChristmassy this season it, but instead I will focus on something different. I believe STRONGLY that what you look for you will find. So I wish for everyone that they will find a most excellent season filled with love and family and all the joy this time of year can bring.