The Spirit of Christmas

What would Christmas be without gifts? What if Christmas was like Thanksgiving-- a time to express gratitude for the blessings in one’s life? What if it still had all the trappings of the season, the holly and the ivy, the mistletoe, and the Christmas feast? What if the tree stayed outside where it belonged and we decorated it with homemade ornaments? What if the gifts exchanged were gifts of food and small tokens from the heart?

What if Christmas wasn’t a time for retailers to rake in profits or for people to go out and spend money they didn’t have to buy bigger and better gifts. What if it wasn’t about shopping and shopping and shopping?

When did Christmas become so commercialized? When did Christmas cease to be about peace, love and goodwill to men and more about what retailer has the best sale on wrapping paper? Have we truly forgotten what Christmas is all about?

In days of old, the Winter Solstice was a mystical and magical time of the year. The people lit bonfires in hopes of calling the sun back to the earth. The days start to get longer and the nights shorter after the solstice. All of the festivals that are celebrated throughout the world at this time of the year are celebrations of light. Even Christmas itself is a celebration of the Lord of Light being born within a manger. It would seem that we are genetically drawn toward the light in the midst of darkness at this time of the year.

Would it be possible for humankind to live in the spirit of non-commercialized giving for the entire year instead of just one day? What if Christmas was an everyday occurrence? And, what if we taught our children that it is far better to give and receive gifts from the heart rather than whatever the latest and more expensive trend happens to be?

Can the true spirit of Christmastide ever be reclaimed-- or have we totally annihilated it under mounds of bright bows, colored wrapping paper, electric lights, and dying evergreen trees? Maybe it still does exist within the homes of the ones who don’t have the money to spend or the credit cards to postpone the inevitable. Maybe it exists when a child’s eyes light up when they see a new pair of hand knitted mittens or a handcrafted toy waiting for them on Christmas morning along with a darned stocking filled with homemade treats. Or, maybe it is just the sense of joy that families share even when the Christmas meal consists of nothing more than boxed macaroni and cheese.

The point is…
Christmas exists at its very finest and best within the hearts and souls of those who see it for what it really is-- a time of love and joy to be cherished and treasured-- and to remember what giving and receiving is truly all about…

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