Christmas will soon be here. Before long children who have plenty will be getting more. And many children who, despite being good all year, just as Santa required of them, will get little. I don’t much care for the myth of Santa Claus. I feel this holiday, that sits right after winter solstice, should be a time of remembrance, a time of gratefulness, a time of giving to those beyond one’s own. Even I have had to look at my own life, and realize I was not teaching my children these things.
Some of us fall into this by way of getting caught up in the flurry of marketing, or keeping up with the Jones’s. Some of us fall prey to it by way of guilt, due to upheaval that we feel convinced has robbed our children of the Normal Rockwell life with which we’d hoped to provide them. My life has never fit the one’s so perfectly represented in those paintings; never has, even when young. The dissonance between my life and those representing the norm in movies, cards and in the media, always filled me with sadness. And in time I came to loathe the little Christmas villages people would set up in their homes. I didn’t like the perfection, as it was surely nothing I’d ever known. I wanted to know it, though.
Through years of study, I’ve come to realize that we often cling to or turn away from, that which we don’t have. For a moment in time we want to control our world. And if we can’t control it as a whole, we will for a few days, or by arranging beautiful little houses, cathedrals and people who sit upon glass on a table in our home. And that’s okay. We all need our moments. We all need our own personal mechanisms. I do wish though, that we as a collective whole, put as much effort into trying to create a perfect world. That we expanded our reach so that it touched not just our own, but those who have no one. I’m quite certain that is how Jesus would have approached the celebration of Christmas. I think he would have taken the gifts given to him, and handed them to another. There is perfection in that act.
Due to such, a few days ago, I told both my children that I had failed to teach them the most important aspect of the Christmas celebration – giving. Giving not money, but the gift of their time, effort and compassion towards another. So with that, the biggest part of Christmas for us this year, will be giving of ourselves to the local Humane Society.
I’m the kind that would much rather celebrate winter solstice. I like that its untouched by the masses. And yet, it’s when nature says, “It is time to shift. It is time for us to move in another direction.” We all need to stop, take notice of where we are, what we are doing, what we are teaching and what we are giving – then shift in a new direction. So as we slowly creep away from darkness, and back toward longer days of full light, I’m also shifting into teaching my children one of the most important life lesson’s one can teach their child – give of yourself – when you do, you give back to you; you give back to the world. And something about that, represents the picture perfect Christmas to me.