Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Blessings of a Simple Christmas Season

"Somewhere along the way Christmas became a Hollywood holiday. It became about gifts and gadgets instead of faith and family. Christmas lost its real meaning when we became enamored with the idea of presents. The day became about giving and getting the perfect present and counting our blessings based on the things we own. It has warped into a season of stress – both financial and emotional – and has brought billions of people around the world more strain and loneliness than any other day of the year. How sad that we have taken the greatest gift of all and either turned it into, or let it be turned into, a burden on ourselves, our faith, and our families." 

This insightful quote is from an article titled The Blessings of a Simple Christmas Season by Armstrong Williams. You can read the entire article here.

I love the last line that somehow we have allowed the celebration of the birth of Christ to become a burden. We become overwhelmed and stressed out about getting, doing, finding, purchasing, making, wrapping, mailing, cleaning, cooking, and attending. Instead of being consumed by reading, sharing, giving, enjoying, soaking, pondering, loving and celebrating.

I will read this article again - maybe even a few times - between now and Christmas. I need to be reminded, as this last quote suggests, that giving of myself can be a blessing far beyond any gift I can purchase in a store.

"Without the expectations and burden of giving the latest and greatest toys to our friends and family, we are free to give of ourselves. This may mean giving a handmade gift, a cup of coffee, or a long walk. Or it may entail reaching out to someone we’ve lost touch with, forgiving a foe, or lending a hand to someone in need. Whatever it means for you, I guarantee a gift given from the heart will be more fruitful for you and more valuable for them."

1 comment:

Ann said...

I would love if gifts were not a part of Christmas at all. Every year I panic over the overwhelming amount of time and money it takes to make it through this time of year. I've been trying for several years now to take myself out of the giving/getting cycle but it's really hard and people get upset if you say "I would rather not be included in the name exchange this year". I've tried and failed. And the quantity of gifts that my daughter receives every year makes my stomach churn as well. I love your idea to read the Christmas story by light of Christmas tree during Advent... hopefully these types of rituals (liturgies really) will help combat all the secular liturgies that influence us all this time of year.