Christmas Wishes

20 12 2010

As I sit down to eat Christmas dinner on December 25 with my husband and son, I will go through my 10 or more minutes of crying. When we recount our list of blessings, my list is usually long. This year, it will be even longer. I start off slow, thanking the Earth for the food, the people who planted it, grew it, harvested it, and transported it so that I could enjoy the meal of which I am about to partake. I make sure to thank the turkey for its life. Then the tears come–for the people who are going hungry, who are homeless, who are hopeless, and who are loveless. I may have helped some over the year, but did I do enough? Not likely. There is always more an individual can do. I gratefully acknowledge the people who have sacrificed their lives–our military and the quiet heroes of daily life. I say a blessing to those families who are grieving the death of a loved one; holidays can be the hardest times in their lives. Then I’ll begin to recount all the blessings currently in my own life.

This year I want for nothing, okay maybe except the Adam Lambert new acoustic CD and an announcement that Stargate Universe has been picked up by another network, but all-in-all, I have everything I could ever need or want. My son is thriving at the private school (and we found a funding source for it). The enormous stress of fighting a corrupt school district is gone. I have a husband who loves me and has for almost 20 years now despite seeing the deepest, darkest places of my soul. I have a wonderful golden retriever. I have a loving family, a roof over my head in a fantastic area to live, food in my stomach, a decent car to drive, great neighbors, wonderful friends, and an employer who is continuing to let me try to work each day as much as I can instead of filing for disability. Of course our retirement account was reduced to a 201K from a 401K after the economic meltdown as was everyone else’s, but Patrick’s autism expenses pretty much ate up the rest of it. Somehow I know we will be okay. While I might moan and complain about circumstances every now and again, a swift kick to my rear brings about enormous perspective.

The things I have on my Christmas wish list require the cooperation of others in order to achieve:

1. World peace. Sounds corny, I know, but I’m an idealistic fool who thinks this is actually possible. Before that happens, we will have to get rid of prejudice and hate. In order to get rid of prejudice and hate, we need better educated people.

2. End to hunger: With all the food we have and waste every day, we could feed the world.

End Hunger

3. A cure for autism: Just because I love my son and accept his diagnosis, doesn’t mean I would not want to make life easier for him, and for other parents not to have to even take this journey. The life lessons have been tremendous, but at what cost?

While I am waiting for those things to happen, I will continue to try to do my part, helping one person at a time, one day at a time.

People tend to store their “good will towards men” for just the Christmas season. As they pack away the Christmas decorations, the spirit of Christmas leaves them as well. Perhaps I should dream smaller. Perhaps my ultimate Christmas wish is for others to find the heart of Christmas in their daily lives and keep that siren song alive year-round. Instead of the 12 days of Christmas, we would sing the joys of 365 days of Christmas. Can you imagine what an astounding force of nature we as a people would be?





Keeping “Christ” in Christmas

14 12 2010

Today while going to pick up Patrick from school, I was tailgated by a car in the school zone. Apparently they didn’t appreciate that I refused to go faster than 20 mph. As I went to turn left, it zoomed past me, still in the school zone, I caught the “Keep Christ in Christmas” magnet on it’s rear-end. It made me laugh for two reasons: First is the complete irony of a person who claims to want to keep Christ in Christmas who cannot obey a simple law complete with a total lack of patience. I would bet good money that swearing was involved. Secondly, buying the magnet allowed someone to profit off our Lord and made you buy into the hype.

If only it were this easy to just put a magnet on your car and be done with any other obligations.

Over and over again, I hear, “It’s not a HOLIDAY tree, it is a CHRISTmas tree.” Where is there a Christmas tree in the Bible? If you have a tree up, you’ve already bought into a secular Christmas. If you buy presents for those who have no need of even one more gift, you’ve bought into a secular Christmas. If you bought a magnet that said, “Keep Christ in Christmas”, you’ve bought into a secular Christmas. I always find “what would Jesus think” a good rule. I often imagine Christ shaking his head when he hears such things, saying, “They do not know me.” I doubt He would even want to have a day of His own where we celebrate His birthday. When I read the Gospels, what I take from them is that we are to be walking the path of Christ every day, not just one day a year. We are to model His example of feeding and clothing the poor, ministering to the sick, being compassionate, being at peace, not making war, forgiving others, etc. If you think writing a check or buying a gift for someone less fortunate meets your obligation for making Christmas about Christ, you would be wrong. Christ would never phone it in. If you are yelling about putting “Christ” in Christmas, how are you spending the rest of the days of the year? Are you focused on things about yourself instead of others?

Is it wrong to participate in Christmas then if you participate in both the secular and Christian aspects of it? No. Just stop being a hypocrite about it.

If you truly want to keep the Christ in Christmas, perhaps this is a better road map for spending your Christmas season instead of arguing about a name of a tree:

1. Take time to be alone and ponder your relationship with Christ, not only at Christmas, but the relationship you have every day.

2. Read the story of Jesus’ birth and note how people responded, Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, Simeon and Anna. Remember that every other day of the year as well.

3. Praise God at Christmas and join others in celebrations of music and praise. Continue this tradition every week of the rest of the year.

4. Help those in need. Follow the example of Jesus whose heart was filled with compassion for those who were suffering.

5. Keep your “to do” list as short as possible. Limit your social obligations so there is time for reflection.

6. Use cash when you buy gifts to avoid holiday debt. Invite your relatives to support a charity instead of giving you or your family a gift.

7.  Tell others about our Savior.

8.  Remember Christ’s church (not a particular religion) around the world. Some are enduring great hardships.

9. Live like Christ every day. Be compassionate, forgiving (especially in mall parking lots, SCHOOL ZONES, harassed sales staff, other people being rude and un-Christ-like). Be sensitive to the people in your own life.

10. Be joyful.