Friday, December 22, 2006

The Holiday Ramble - 12/22/06

I had a conversation this morning with a non-Christian immigrant about Christmas. His perception is that what seems to be missing from the way most Americans practice Christmas is the spirit. He notices the consumption and commercialization first and foremost. Beyond that, he sees what he calls "glitter" or fluff. The holiday season is a good time to reflect on our history as a species, and where we are going. Let the practice of Christmas in America at the beginning of the 21st Century be your guide. Indeed, the sprit of Christmas is vanishing. In its place has arisen spending, obligation, and stress.

What's ironic about the Christmas season is that it is a time when people are allowed to practice those things that truly bring people happiness; love, sharing, togetherness, giving. For many, it has become a time of anger, stress, and depression. Much of it is related to our attempt to emulate a manufactured idealized Christmas experience. When our family room doesn't look like those in our favorite catalogs, we ask ourselves "why?". What is wrong with us that we can't have the kind of Christmas that we are supposed to have, that we are entitled to? Well, what we are entitled to is our Christmas. We choose the way we want to celebrate Christmas, and the emotions that result. It is within our power to give this season real meaning to ourselves and those whom we love.

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