Monday, December 1, 2008

Christmas and all the Trappings?

I love Christmas. I love the lights, the music, the snow - in moderate amounts please. I love Christmas cards. I love Christmas cookies, and all the feasting.

What I don't like is the commercialization of Christmas, a holy season. I was horrified to read the story about the store worker who was trampled by crazed shoppers. WHAT in God's great name was so valuable or necessary to happiness that it should cost an innocent his life? Nothing. NO THING. A thing cannot bring happiness, it is a temporary distraction. It is breakable, expendable, terminal and in one year, who will remember the thing?

Our society (Americans) has become fixated on acquiring things, "he who has the most toys, wins." Wins what? Eternal Peace? Everlasting Joy? Unconditional Love? Of course not.

I'll admit to enjoying getting the perfect gift for people I love. Sometimes it is something they wanted or needed. Sometimes it is something that inspired warm thoughts of them. Most often, it is small and very personal to them. The best gifts I ever got were surprises, a sapphire cross necklace from my mom, I wear it all the time. A set of rubber stamps from my sister, bought before she died this summer. It is one of my hobbies, and she found it while going on rummage sales with her boyfriend. She was watching her budget and yet found a thoughtful gift, months before the holiday. I cried when her boyfriend told me about it.

These are the gifts that move me. I want to weep tears of joy and love for the person who was really considering a gift from their heart. It is, to me, a measure of their love for me, when they take the time or care to pick out a gift for me, not because its on sale or they needed to get a gift. I'd rather get a box of homemade Christmas cookies, or a set of rubber stamps than the latest electronic gadget or another sweatshirt. I want to do the same for those I love, move them and give them some private joy.

When my nephews were small, I always got them savings bonds. I was thinking of their education, wanting to give them what I am still trying to acquire. But in addition to that, I always found something little to give them. A small toy for their little hands. It used to drive my dad nuts, because invariably, the boys would play with the little toy I gave them instead of the big playsets they got for Christmas. Big trucks, big blocks, big "things". Bigger is not always better.

So, you will never find me up at 4am in front of a store on Black Friday. But you will find me at 10pm Mass on Christmas Eve, celebrating the Birth of the One who founded Christmas, being moved by the mystery and holiness of the season. Merry Christmas, God Bless you abundantly!

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