I love Christmas. I can still remember the anticipation of waiting for Santa to arrive, putting out the milk and cookies and trying to sleep for what seemed like endless hours until daybreak. What kid can wait to open Christmas presents at the crack of dawn. My parents used to get ‘Santa’ to call us on Christmas Eve to ask if we were naughty or nice that year. The threat of a bag full of coals and switches served as incentive to my siblings and me to keep our high-jinx in check!
Going to church was always a central part of our Christmas celebrations. We always gave thanks for how fortunate we were to have a loving family, food on the plate and we always gave to those less fortunate than ourselves. My parents wouldn’t have it any other way. They wanted us to realise how lucky we were. Even though my relationship with the church has changed through the years, my spirituality and since of family traditions is firmly intact.
Naturally, everyone has different experiences. This time of year I have clients who worry about how they will cope with the Christmas holidays. There’s so much pressure to buy things regardless of whether you can actually afford them. There’s the stress of mounting debt you could face in the New Year. Of course, Christmas also reminds us of loved ones we’ve lost and those we feel obligated to spend time with who in fact have a way of ruining the Christmas spirit for everyone.
In reality, if we can peel back the commercial and material facade of the holiday season and put aside our personal differences for the sake of briefly uniting our families, then perhaps we can get to the real spirit of Christmas, the celebration of a life force inspiring us to be all things good and great. I realise that is not easy to follow the light in a world full of so much darkness. However, we must persist. Where would we be without hope?
Those of us who have a good quality of life should quiet ourselves long enough to say thank you for the blessings and the challenges that touch us in this life. Furthermore, this is a time to give, not just gifts, but give of ourselves to those who could benefit from our help. Whether it’s time, food or money, every bit helps. Perhaps you will be touch and inspired to continue to give to those in need well into the future. Giving feels good. It’s a gift to yourself.
Christmas is not the only season to give but it’s a great time to start.