Christmas bells are ringing on the street, on the radio, and in our hearts…weather we like it or not. We are in the midst of the most stressful and most anticipated times of the year. It is this very conundrum that we find the highest suicide rates and the most giving. I wonder why this is? How can we be so depressed we kill ourselves and yet this time of year is deemed the most happiest time of the year?
With a little thought it is not hard to understand why. As adults, just as kids, we surround ourselves with expectations; the only difference is the expectations themselves. As children we awaited the gifts, we expected the best present, and hot chocolate and cookies, and warm fires. Our expectations were simple. Today, as adults we expect much more of ourselves. Instead of focusing on what we will be receiving at Christmas we try to out do each other in giving, we remind each other that someone just got married, or had a child or got a raise and use this as a time of competition and one-upping the other instead of the simple miracle it was meant to be.
As adults we have polluted the beauty of Christmas by culturalizing it. As a scholar of cultures, I usually find it helpful to integrate into the culture to understand them. But I have found that in doing so, we sometimes loose the beauty that is difference. You see, we have take a day that was meant to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and commercialized it – not just in the giving of material possessions (thank you Happy Honda Days) but have made even that a competition with mythical saints (thank you Apple and Best Buy).
Where are the simple joys of childhood in a world wrecked by wars and recession? Where are the simple joys in saying, you know what, it is not about a gift, or what amazing things happened this year that you can bring up to compete with others. It is about a God that loved so much He gave. WE did nothing. Nothing to deserve it. Nothing in aiding it. Nothing. Yet we expect. We expect ribbons. We expect tags. We expect packages, boxes, and bags. When that is not enough, we expect raises, and bonuses, we expect boasting, we expect to be set up to look the best. I think it is time to admit we are all a little bit of a Grinch.
I know I am at fault too, perhaps the worst culprit. I find myself ashamed sometimes of what I do, that it is not good enough for the circle of friends I have. I read the Christmas cards as boasts instead of salutations from friends afar. I have taken the joy out of my own Christmas. So, I guess I wonder when did this happen? But more importantly, how do we change all this?
What can we do to stop this cycle that is plaguing this most glorious and celebrated holiday? How can we be a Who who just loves Christmas a lot? What will it take? Volunteering for the less fortunate? Baking some treats for your coworkers and not putting a name on it? Taking away presents all together and remembering what it means to just spend time with the people you love? How does one humble themselves?
This season, I ask you to think on these things, as I will and do. As you come up with ideas or you have some traditions that you think help you, please post on my page so we can all learn from your wisdom. Merry Christmas everyone! God Bless!