It's been an interesting Christmas. If most of us are honest, we admit to Christmastime as that holiday we both look forward to...and forward to it being overwith.
I've noticed that that people with a religious bent are quick to lecture others about 'what Christmas is really all about'...but it doesn't seem to work as much of a defense against their accumulating the same amount of fuss, worry, botheration, and stress that goes with it.
How does one become stressed during this holiday season Simple. By Breathing. As you inhale, you just suck in the stress...and as you exhale you 'share it' with others around you. It's OK. You are not obligated to agree.
No other holiday brings about so many memories or so much nostalgia as does Christmas. I am not meaning to put a negative slant on it ...but let's face it. Most of those memories evoke a lot of pain and tears. Some of the BEST memories include things such as kittens attacking and knocking down the Christmas tree. I've never known that to bring about tears. Or getting a present that was so goofy you had many laughs for years to come.
There is the old worn out line about "Christmas has become way too commercialized"...become? Its been that way forever. Even Jesus got gifts that were undoubtedly way overpriced for the time and place! Those Wise Guys started the whole thing!
The amount of time, effort, and money (with emphasis on money) a person spends on gifts is no different (I betcha!) than those same people would over-spend during other times of the year. My rule of thumb is: if I ENJOY buying the gift...than the whole thing is justified and just ducky dandy. If I start to scowl or frown or bitch about the price...just don't buy it. It is safe to presume that, yes, I am not a 'big spender' but I am a 'fun spender!'
If one is worried about 'what the other person will think' ... then he or she is stuck with a problem that Christmas can hardly be accountable for.
So, in many ways ... methinks...Christmas brings about both the best...and the worst...in people. It emphasizes both their strengths and their weaknesses. It puts to the test what their real values are...
All the controversy about "Merry Christmas" vs "Happy Holidays" ...is SO stupid. And yes, I am satisfied with my choice of word. It's fun to say either one! If you want to attach a religious connotation to it -- do so... do not expect me to absorb your feelings or beliefs. I love to walk down the 16th st Mall and say Happy Hannukah to people...some respond surprizingly jovially...some of them probably taking pride on how tolerant they are of Jews. Well, that's serving a good purpose.
The best thing about ANY happily offered greeting...regardless of the words that are chosen--is the Good Feeling it gives you when you direct it towards a loved one or a stranger... Its a way of reaching out to others in ways we so often withhold...so afraid we will do or say the wrong thing (or suffer rejection...) I love saying Merry Christmas to people who are Christians of various persuasions, to Jews, to Buddhists, to Hindus, and yes!--even to a some Muslim friends... (I am sure to some of my acquaintances may conclude that aligns me with being a potential terrorist...(again...the word supid comes to mind...) For when you greet someone...what is in your HEART reaches and is reciprocated by the HEARTS of those you greet. My belief in that is strong...and therefore, it does not fail me. Your true intent does not lie...neither does it fool others.
I don't admire or applaud people who "out do themselves" by slaving away, persistant in making an 'impression' on others about how hard they worked or how much they spent. However, I have to allow them their own belief that this makes them 'better'... Sometimes that allowing business can sure make you wince...eh?
But I love Christmas and I love to see the excitement that it generates. A little stress if good for us! heh... And irregardless of what people attach to this season of the year...if it makes them Feel Good and Happy (must I add holy and pious?? )...then I say GO FOR IT.
As for the 'real meaning' of Christmas...that is also a personal choice. To me, it makes no difference if Jesus was a real, genuinely historical character or not... I believe he was...and I think he was a phenomenal teacher who taught the same great lessons as did other Great Teachers...each presenting those same lessons and teachings in different ways.
AND SO...I hope each and everyone of you had a Christmas that left you with warm and wonderful GOOD feelings...and yes, its OK to experience a bit of relief that it is now past for another year.
And so....with 6 hours left as I write this, of Christmas Day, 2009, I wish you all a most happy, blessed, and very Merry Christmas!! I hope it was one of your best!