It seems that somewhere along the way the holiday message has been lost and replaced by materialistic attitudes that are more of a concern than the joy surrounding the Christmas period. Has the season really shifted into a marketing and product focused event versus a family centered day of peace and nostalgia?
The early 19th century was a period of class conflict and turmoil. Unemployment was high and gang rioting by the disenchanted classes often occurred during the Christmas season. In 1928, the New York city council instituted the city’s first police force in response to a Christmas riot……..sound familiar?
Today’s headlines are much the same: Woman uses pepper spray on fellow shoppers, shooting in parking lot at local retailer, shoppers step over and around unconscious shopper. So, how do we stop the madness?
It may be the perfect time to start a new tradition: “In with the old, out with the new”. In days gone by people exchanged gifts as a reminder of God’s gift of the savior to humankind. The Romans believed that the exchanging of gifts brought good fortune for the New Year and the best gift around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each others love.
It would be good to see the old traditions return and for Christmas to be celebrated for the right reasons and not as a commercial opportunity. Who says a gift has to be store bought? What about the gift that keeps giving all year long?
Some of the greatest gifts I have ever received as a child were those that continued into the next year or came from the heart. One year it was a subscription to a children’s magazine from Aunt Lorraine, and I loved it. What joy that magazine brought every month when it arrived in the mail!
Gifts from the heart may be the most meaningful gifts of all.
What about a gift of your time for an aged Grandparent or an ailing friend? What about the gift of forgiveness?
Christmas is more than a date on a calendar; it is a season of the heart. So, as we head into the final days before this blessed event, let’s focus on the reason we are celebrating. Make it an affair of the heart.