It seems there are two certainties to the Christmas formula every year: Christmas paraphernalia will go on the shelves two weeks earlier than they did the previous year, and the meaning of Christmas will fade even more than it already has. Christmas can mean a day to celebrate the birth of the Christian messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. It can also mean a day to celebrate peace, love, brotherhood, and love of humankind. Unfortunately, it seems those meanings are locked away in a North Pole closet as Christmas has come to signify gift exchanging and, recently, pumping up a deflated economy.
Although helping to restore our fading economy is a great cause dedicated to the financial stability of our nation, I think that the reason we get four to eight weeks off in December and January should not be forgotten. In these times when our way of life is threatened, the meaning of the holiday seems especially important.
Christmas should be a time when we celebrate happiness, peace, love and unity. Yeah, that sounds like a hippie manifesto, but it’s a basic message that transcends economies. Let’s face it, despite the events of the past year and a half, we have it great. Even the poor in this nation have it better off than the poor in most countries. We don’t have missiles flying through our roofs and martial law on the streets, this alone should be reason to celebrate. If you need more reasons to celebrate, don’t forget the essential liberties that were won in hard-fought battles fought by previous generations of Americans. We have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I’m appreciative of the fact that I can write this article without fear of some government watchdog kicking down my door because they don’t agree with my ideas.
In the realm of unity, Christmas and the holiday season should be a time to try to understand people in other nations, even if we can’t imagine what life is like in those countries. I think humankind, as a whole, has a lot more in common than we do differences. For one, we all care about those we love, and wish the best in life for them. We all work hard to provide our families with enough food and materials to survive another day. We all want our families to be happy.
This is where gift giving comes in. When exchanging gifts, we should remember that it is definitely better to give than to receive. Watching the smiles on your loved ones’ faces appear as they unwrap their new Xbox, DVD player, David Bowie album, Yu-Gi-Oh playing cards or football, given by you, is the best feeling one can have in the holiday season. It isn’t even about giving the gift itself, a truer meaning is found in showing that you care enough about your family and friends to show them that you will do all that is possible to ensure their happiness and that you value and respect them. To me, that’s a lot more fulfilling than unwrapping a new pair of socks.
Enjoy the holiday season, regardless of whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Chanukah, Ramadan, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, Festivus or the end of finals. This is the time to celebrate life.