Christmas is my favorite time of year! I anxiously await the first of December each year, anticipating the excitement that comes with the holiday season. My son and I enforce more traditions at this time than we do on any other holiday–combined. And we spend more time together as a family in these few weeks than we do at any other time.
I, unlike few other parents (lol), am willing to admit that I spoil my son mercilessly. He is my one and only, and I don’t have to share my income with anyone else if I so choose. Therefore, he gets the bulk of my financial attention, especially at Christmas–even when he has been so inhumanely disagreeable that I balk at the idea of him deserving anything at all. Which brings me to the point of this post…
Christmas, for me at least, has never been about deserving. A difficult word deserving; it means to be found worthy, to have earned some semblance of reward. And quite frankly, I just don’t believe any one of us–no matter how sweet, thoughtful or kind–can ever be deserving of someone’s love, affection or attention. You see, love simply can’t be earned; it is only given–freely, completely and totally. Christmas and its subsequent gift-giving is not about whether a child was “bad or good”, as the famous holiday songs jingle. (Hence the reason I never taught my son to believe in Santa Claus, but that’s for another day.) Christmas is about showing love to others through our giving, and thus, you cannot earn it. It is my expression of love to you; it only requires that you gratefully receive.
My family’s practices, or traditions if you will, reinforce that concept, even down to the gifts we give. What I’m looking for on Christmas morning is that ginormous grin that spans my family’s face that lets me know I got it right. And whether I ever receive anything Christmas morning or not, seeing my family huddled under the tree, satisfied and happy, is what warms my heart. It consequently makes me tremendously happy, even if that happiness is momentary. It’s a small glimmer of hope in an unbelieving world, and no matter what you believe, hope is a concept we all desperately need.
Yes, Christmas has been commercialized and stripped of its true meaning. We all know this: we’ve seen the Grinch steal the Whos’ packages and watched speechless as Linus stands in the spotlight on a stage with his little blanket. We’ve repeated this process every year, and maybe only on a small level does it ever really sink in. We get caught up in the Black Friday sales, which don’t even start on Friday anymore, and we’re scrambling for that new hot toy or electronic something that our child(ren) just must have or Christmas is a total bust. But really, at the root of it, all that scramble and hustle and bustle is about one thing: love. Because if you didn’t love the person who asked for it, as redundant and selfish and stupid as the gift feels or sounds, you wouldn’t be out there every Thanksgiving hunting and scraping and fighting to satisfy those meaningless requests.
There’s something about the spirit of Christmas that seems to set everything in my world right. Don’t get me wrong: I’m still very aware of those who go without every year, those who are cold and hungry, those children spending the holidays in foster care with state-assigned “parents” who care nothing for them. I see the hurt in the world, more than ever during this season. The great thing though is that the Christmas spirit, if you allow it to, it fills you up to be the change, the hope, that someone is dying for. Maybe those someones live in your house. Or maybe those someones are the little children you sponsor at Good Cause or Salvation Army. It doesn’t matter to whom you give that love, so long as you give it.
It’s more than a little cliche to close this post with a call to action, to inspire you to reflect and ponder on these “deep and moving” things. I will ask you to do nothing of the sort. All I ask is that you embrace whatever traditions you observe–even if there are none–and share these moments daily with those you love. We all know too well that so many are gone too soon (RIP Paul Walker), and every second is much too precious to waste.
So Merry Christmas, my dedicated readers, and go spread the love!