Monday, December 19, 2011

Getting Back to The True Meaning of Christmas

Handmade gifts from the heart are the best, aren't they?  You feel the LOVE that went into making them. You feel the LOVE when you make them and even moreso when you use these gifts. 

The materialism at Christmas bothers me a bit, but the holiday season does promote the idea of "giving", which is not an entirely bad thing.  I try to keep my kids focused on the GIVING part, with not so much emphasis on the receiving part.  That is to say that they should focus on thankfulness for all that they have and then be grateful for the additional gifts that they are so fortunate as to receive.  This shift away from materialism toward gratitude is NOT an easy thing to do in today's highly materialistic world.  That being said, I think this lousy economic climate that our country currently finds itself immersed in is actually helping people to refocus on the truly important things this holiday and Christmas season.

For example, I see many people in our neighborhood making the effort to put up lights and Christmas decorations, when in past years they just left them boxed in the garage and did not even make the effort.  I'd say that we have probably tripled the number people decorating the outside of their homes in our neighborhood this Christmas season.  This Christmas decorating trend seems to be the case in neighborhoods throughout the area as well.  It always makes me smile and feel the Christmas Spirit of 'cheer' as I walk or drive through an area all lit up and decorated for Christmas.  I notice more people making donations to charities as well.  My oldest went to a party the other night where a group of friends and families went through a neighborhood singing Christmas carols and collected food items for a local food bank.  They collected six full garbage-sized bags of food  donations in just one night of caroling.  Isn't that wonderful?!

Every year, since my children were very little, I have had them write down on paper (or color a picture if they are little) something that they will selflessly do to help make the world a better place.  Then this becomes their gift to Jesus for his birthday.  I find that this project really helps to redirect the focus of Christmas and even small children can understand the concept of giving a gift to Jesus for his birthday.  When they were really little my children would color pictures of them giving lots of hugs to Mommy and Daddy.  Then when they were just learning to write they offered things like "I promise to really try hard to keep my room clean, without Mommy having to nag me."   Now that they are a bit older, I will see if they can come up with three things of them being something that they will give to total strangers.  It will be interesting to see what they will come up with.

Well, I do hope that you and yours are enjoying the celebrations that lead up to Christmas and the other holiday traditions (e.g., Hanukah, Kwanzaa ...).  May Peace& Love reign in your hearts.  Perhaps this Christmas and holiday season, you will stop to offer a stranger a smile or hand in friendship?  Perhaps you won't be so quick to jump to conclusions and judge others.  For you see, heartfelt gestures such as these keep the 'Christ' in Christmas ... promote the Peace on Earth and Good Will towards all men.  If someone can "take Christmas away from  you", then perhaps you never really had in your heart to begin with? God's Blessings to all who pass this way.



lorely said...

Blessings back to you Michelle! And a Merry Christmas!

Michelle (Isabelle) said...

Thank you, Lorely. =) Peace, Love & Blessings to you and yours. ♥