In the interest of full disclosure, I didn’t follow through with my gift giving strategy in this post. I still found myself reserving my gift-giving for Christmas. Resolving to do better in 2022…
I have been contemplating why it seems that so many of our beloved friends and relatives leave the planet during the “Christmas “ season. In truth, it may only seem that way because of our expectations for family and friends during a season we associate with joy.
Over the years I have come to realize some things that are in direct conflict with my previous thoughts about Christmas. I began to realize that the true meaning had been coopted by commercialization. I realized that the birth of Jesus did not resemble in any fashion the way that we celebrate it. I became aware of the significance of the circumstances of His birth; and how I completely missed it when concentrating on food, festivities, and gifts. As a result, I began to curtail my self-imposed pressure and over the top expectations; opting instead for a desire to fellowship with family and enjoy friends in a more intimate way. This was a big adjustment for me because my dad went so far as to string reindeer across our roof when I was a child (LOL).
I remember that my dad died in December and I recall the rest of us trying to make a bearable “Christmas” for my mother, when in fact that was the last thing on her mind. My heart aches for those who have lost loved ones and are attempting to do the same thing this year. I remember feeling cheated when I lost one of my dearest friends on Nov 2 one year when I saw a beautiful cameo pin I had bought her and was never able to give her. Many will feel cheated in the same way this year and I want you to know I feel your pain.
I believe that I am slowly but surely learning a lesson about how we approach this “holiday”. Of late, I have realized– and even shared in discussions about my book –that God is not impressed with our holidays and traditions. The fact that we cannot celebrate them due to Covid-19 in the ways to which we have become accustomed is no accident. It is significant if we will be open to the inherent message. Commemorating birthdays is not a bad thing; and commemorating the birth of our Savior cannot be a negative. But how we go about it is the object lesson.
First of all, Santa Claus needs to be retired. He gives our children what they want or desire once a year based on whether they were “naughty or nice” all year long. God sent His Son to us because we were SO naughty that nothing else could save us! Grace gave us unmerited favor and afforded us the gift of eternal life!
I am guilty of showering my niece and nephew with things I have stockpiled all year waiting for the opportunity to bless them at Christmas. They get so much from all of us that they can barely focus on any one gift for more than a few minutes. I am starting to realize that a more excellent way would be to give them what I want them to have whenever I feel they can use it. We often show benevolence to those we call “the less fortunate” once a year when we could have allowed them to enjoy it all year long. The need has always been there; but we respond to it on Christmas because that is part of our tradition.
As I said, I am learning—evolving even! And in the year 2020 which signifies perfect vision, I am beginning to see. EVERY day is Christmas day because Emmanuel was with us yesterday, He is with us today, and He will be with us and in us forevermore! He came to us in meager circumstances because He came to give Himself away. So giving of ourselves and our substance should be a spiritual practice, not a tradition.
Soooo…in 2021, I am committed to trying this thing another way. I think that when I feel the urge to pick up something one of my dear ones would enjoy, I’m going to give it to them then. I hope that I can seize the moment so that I don’t withhold what I am supposed to give at a divinely appointed time. If I come to you with something I seem to be giving you for no reason, know that there IS a reason: I’m not going to be saving joy, I’m just gonna spread it as it comes.
As for you, my beloved ones, if you have love to give, give it now! If you have a kind word or appreciation to share, say it now! The whole notion that tomorrow is not promised has become glaringly clear in this hour. Don’t stockpile the good stuff—release every good and perfect gift into the atmosphere that your joy and those of others might be full!