The countdown. The holiday lights. The décor. The shopping. The cooking. The baking. The laughter. The fun. The gifts. The family. The children. The end.
I sat there listening to two people talk about it. They were not related to me nor were they my friends. They were having an open discussion in my presence. Statements like, “Christmas was boring. It’s for the children. My children weren’t with me. The food at my in-laws tasted awful. What was he thinking when he gave me that? I’m not sentimental.” The list went on.
Those statements were followed by more complaints about gifts and their opinions on what they should have received and why what they received wasn’t good enough. Every year I think I hear the worst until another year comes around. And it turns me off completely.
Is this what the holidays have become? Is Christmas about people who hate each other getting together for a holiday party that they don’t even want to attend? Is Christmas about spending the same amount of money on others just because others are spending that on us?
Is it about feeling obligated and carrying an extra gift in our trunks just to show we didn’t forget someone when we actually did? Is that what it’s about? Is Christmas about saying no to the gift exchange because the gifts we received were always too cheap for us to appreciate and we would rather not be insulted?
Is Christmas about holding grudges over the little things we heard at the dinner table which we misinterpreted and chose to get offended over?
I was standing in line at a store recently with my 17-year old son when he told me that he noticed the madness. People grabbing gifts and standing on line with piles of stuff. All for one day. There’s nothing wrong with buying for our loved ones. I know that. But everything about it that day just seemed wrong. People were rushed. The atmosphere felt cold.
He expressed his heart and what he saw before him. I wondered if it was an epiphany. Or was it something that was quite obvious. I agreed and told him his heart was in the right place. It was a proud Mommy moment.
Maybe the “disappointments” are all just signs that we need to grow in love. Maybe it’s a sign we’re craving for attention.
Maybe that’s why we say and hear that Christmas is about the children. Maybe it’s because we see something in them that we fail to see about ourselves sometimes. We see a genuine love and appreciation.
A love that is a sincere expression of who they are. Maybe it’s because they can’t hide their feelings. Or because their smiles light up every room they enter.
Have you ever seen children at a park? I recently watched my girls play with a girl they didn’t know. It didn’t take much warming up. I saw them laugh and play. They even held hands as they sat on a swing. It wasn’t the first time I had seen this happen. Children are humble. They’re not afraid to express to each other the need they have for one another.
Children are quick to forgive. They don’t judge. They don’t see color. Maybe they do, but they definitely don’t treat others different because of it. And they don’t see age. They can sit for a while talking to the elderly.
Children don’t see prices either. Have you ever noticed how a young child responds to a coloring book and a bottle of bubbles?
Children find joy in the little things. They are gentle and kind. When they hurt, they cry and don’t hold back. They don’t worry about what people are saying or thinking about them. They laugh out loud. They run freely without worries. If they’re young enough, they’ll run around naked, too. It’s called innocence.
Children love to give. They get excited about handmade cards. They write freely from the heart about what makes them happy. And they make it all about us.
Sometime before Christmas, my 5 year old heard a commercial on the radio about dying children. She was shocked to hear it and asked me about it. I tried to explain to her that there are starving children, but that’s why we need to send them food. She thought that the Christmas cookies we were baking were for them.
It made me laugh, but it also made me think. I wondered what it would be like if we started baking for starving children around the world instead of for ourselves.
If Christmas is just for children like people say, then why don’t we all act like children? I’m not talking about running around naked. Please don’t do that. I just think the world would be a better place if we take the time to think the best of each other and love without limits.