Spiritual well-being during the Holidays
Remember when you were a kid and how the winter holidays were the highlight of your year? I think back to how strong the Christmas spirit shined in our house, even though we were a family of limited means. We would seek out the Sears Wish Book and were able to spend a whole twenty dollars on the toy of our choice. Our stockings always had a big candy cane, a few Hershey kisses, and a life savers roll. That was enough for us back then and our favorite thrill was the break from school and going sledding down the biggest hill we could find in the neighborhood.
Times sure have changed. Things have become so complicated. People have become more demanding. When we think about the extra pressure that bears down on us during this time of the year, it is mentally exhausting. There has to be a point where we stand back and look at the madness we have created as a society and get back to basics. When did the “true meaning” of the holidays fade and the sparkle of commercialism take over? My earliest recollection was when watching A Charlie Brown Christmas back in the 60’s, Snoopy’s dog house won a prize for the best lighting display. And of course Charlie Brown’s frustration with his friends that felt that Christmas was partying and dancing.
While it is nice to give and receive during the holiday season, it is more important that we make our own sanity a priority. By simply living within our means (by not maxing out credit cards or depleting our savings), we can still enjoy family, friends, and loved ones. You may worry that little Christopher or Suzy would be disappointed if they don’t find the new iPhone or the latest video games under the tree, but it is our responsibility to break the cycle of elaborate displays of gift-giving to teach them the true meaning of the holiday season. The example you set is important on how they will act as adults.
Take advantage of the time you are given with the young ones to talk and reminisce about your favorite things, and explain how things used to be not so long ago. When too much time is spent focusing on the gifts, then the true gifts are overlooked until it is too late. The gifts of time and shared wisdom are gems that will last a lifetime. And while you are at it, you will realize how thankful you are that you had control over the shopping madness. And if you take it one step further, to deepen your faith, pick up a Bible and read the passages pertaining to the holidays. Then read even further to see the path that leads to the holidays that follow, like Easter Sunday. Some children that don’t go to church don’t realize that there are stories about the dates they celebrate right in the Bible. And don’t underestimate a child’s interest in your stories because they are wonderful, smart, and want to learn new things. You are more interesting than you think!
If you are alone during the holidays, seek out a local church and enjoy the company of those who may have the same status as you. Our church enjoys visitors of all denominations and faiths. We welcome everyone with open arms and no judgment, just faith and fellowship as we enjoy each other’s company, laugh, and partake in foods prepared as part of our regular pot luck meals on the first Sundays of each month. We also welcome everyone to come and join us for our Christmas Candlelight Service on Sunday, December 23rd starting at 5 pm followed by a wonderful meal. Bring a friend and a dish to share! We are located at 19204 Pawnee Avenue (between E. 185th and 200 St.). We have been part of the community since 1927!
The holidays are a time of peace, love, and friendship. It is not a contest or a time to show off our credit-worthiness. Keep it simple and you will realize that the spirit of well-being is in our own hands. Pop “It’s a wonderful life” or another classic holiday movie into the DVD player. Make up a nice big bowl of buttered popcorn, pour some spiced eggnog, and sit down and enjoy the magic with the ones you care about! Make your own traditions that emphasize the true meaning of the holidays. Spiritual well-being is not as far away as we think.