Before Halloween I listed a holiday pin in my online vintage jewelry shop. It’s a whimsical moose on rollerblades, clearly hurrying while balancing a stack of red and green wrapped presents. Maybe he’s trying to beat-the-rush, move at the speed-of-sales, or make it to Christmas dinner on time. When I found and posted it, it made me smile. I took it as a comic nudge against the commercialization of the season and our robotic appetite for stuff-buying.
But unless we’re under eight, we know Christmas isn’t about the presents. It isn’t about a few magical weeks of a season, or one specific calendar date, either. While Christmas has different meanings for different people, both religious and secular, it brings for many enhanced connection and outreach to family, friends, and community.
The Christmas message is a message of love; a way of being. I aspire to the Charles Dickens sentiment to “honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year.” The way I see it, we do that through our actions, which is why I’m worried about losing Christmas. We seem to be short on love right now. Shopping-frenzies, Black Friday and Cyber Monday bargains aren’t stealing the real meaning of Christmas. No, we’re losing that all by ourselves.
We’re losing the Christmas message of love when neighbors stop speaking to neighbors based on political differences; when houses of worship become murderous targets of hate; when fear replaces compassion for those seeking a better life; and when pipe-bombs threaten to permanently silence those who disagree. We’re losing it when toxic language and incivility replace dialogue and understanding; when school yard taunts fill the halls of Congress and are echoed on playgrounds; when lies replace truth; when our planet’s health is compromised for business gains; and when we don’t see each other and our differences as a strength.
Still most of us aren’t like that. We don’t do those things. And yet, if (continue reading →)