Tuesday, December 14, 2010

In Search of...the Christmas spirit

I have been driving around listening to my Christmas CD's and getting things ready for the holiday season. I love wishing people a merry Christmas or happy holiday, and yes, I am sickeningly into the festivities. It's my favorite time of year. But this is not so for everyone.

Some people are depressed and unhappy during the holiday season. To them it represents some tragedy that occurred, or the absence of a loved one, or the things that are missing in their lives. I heard one lady say with great intensity at the dry cleaners, "Bad things always happen during the holidays."

I got to thinking about what this could mean for this stranger. Clearly, it must have been something traumatic, and my mind went wild with the possibilities. I silently wished her relief from whatever it was that terrorized her during the season. And so I'm encouraging you, my dear readers, to take a moment during your frenzy to send loving thoughts to those who are hurting this holiday season. To those who have been out of work and don't have money for gifts for their children, to those who are homeless, hungry, and alone. To those who may not know how to appreciate what they do have, even when it is a lot by most of the world's standards.

Christmas is about the birth of Jesus, an innocent baby who would grow up to be an example of what unconditional love looks like, even in the face of betrayal and death. We all start out with that same innocence, and not one of us is immune to betrayal and death. But what we do with the time in between our birth and that death is what determines the measure of our lives. Will it be to make something better? Will it be to forgive someone, even at the moment of our death? Whatever your belief is, this is a good time to reflect on the innocence that is our birthright. I know many religions believe we are born in sin. I personally do not believe that. I believe we are born with a clean slate, as clean as that of Jesus. And as we honor that innocence in ourselves, we can honor it in others.

Gift giving has become an obligatory and therefore, dreaded thing, when really it should be a way to say, "I honor you. I appreciate you." It would be nice and more meaningful if we said those words to one another. But we are not that courageous or direct when it comes to saying nice things. Mean things we seem to have no problem with, but nice things are interpreted as some sign of weakness or vulnerability. So I'm hoping to start a new trend. I am saying to the people in my life, including whoever is reading this, "I love and value you." I wish you a Christmas filled with love, and the ability to enjoy every minute of it.

As for me, I've got some carolling to do. Thanks for stopping by.

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