What Christmas means to me

There are rare times when the truth is apparent; maybe the truth is
always apparent but we look the other way. I think many of us walk about
in a world that is shaped by influences that promise to help us
escape the world these same influences have created. Money and notoriety are a few of the staple items used by those who guarantee happiness with the products they create. They then convince us that we are the lonely few who fail to possess what they make. This fantastic
world is never more perverse than during the holidays. It is more
than placing a dollar amount on joy; it is covering up the true meaning
of Christmas.

I began to change how I lived soon after I met my wife,
Lisa. I have always needed lots of complications to fill up my life.
These complications involved excessive hobbies, useless projects and new endeavors
which resulted in time thrown to the wind. It is said that people
fill the empty spaces with anything and I think that’s what I
did. I used these activities as a sort of crutch. However, my life began to fill as I began to know my wife; Lisa insisted that life should be simple. It was almost painful to cast
aside my little props and crutches but as a result I became stronger.
The truth is that my crutches were my burden and my blindfold and
their removal was my freedom. These things kept me from the truth and
joy of life.

I believe there is a place for presents at Christmas but they shouldn’t
become the meaning of the holiday. I think we have allowed ourselves
to forget what is Christmas and have become empty. People try to fill
the empty space with meaningless rituals in an effort to validate
what they worship; a false world of excess. Much of the anxiety and
depression during the holidays come as a result of unattainable
desires based upon the expectations we have of ourselves. These same
expectations come from marketing which tells us we can
find the true meaning of Christmas if we will only increase the
limits on our credit cards a bit more. If we just bake a little more,
buy more presents and attend more Christmas parties then we will feel
warm and loved. It is the excess, not the presents, that cover the joy of Christmas.

I like my presents. I like the food and the parties. However, I know that
these are symptoms of Christmas; they are not Christmas. Christmas is
the birth of Jesus who came to bear our sin and give the world love.
The person with nothing can be happy because there is no material thing
between them and that love. This is the most joyous time of the
year and the simple truth is that some folks are orphans from that joy at their own choice. It is our own creations that blind us from coveting the one gift we should receive. The truth is that the meaning of Christmas is love as expressed by the birth of Jesus. It is the most simple of gifts and requires only our acceptance. It is what the holidays mean to me, Merry Christmas.

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