They say nowadays that the year-end holidays are among the most stressful times we experience. If that is so, how far have we strayed from where Christmas is supposed to guide us!
We are doing it to ourselves. We spend all of our time on decorating the home, the office, the yard with ‘made in China’ lights and ornaments, which we then, in a few weeks with a hangover induced remorse, will have to dismantle again and put away in the attic. We spend precious hours on stuffing the mail with gaudy greeting cards conveying the best sentiments from Hallmark or American Greetings and on taking advantage of incredible shopping deals for stuff that nobody really needs, with the result that we are exhausted before the party begins. In the process we run out of time to observe the birth of Christ the way it used to be celebrated, by candle light, in church or outside, caroling, volunteering or just enjoying the company of those who are most dear to us.
If we are so proud of our values and culture why have we, in only a few generations, so massively succumbed to consumerism?
Our stress is also elevated by the need to be politically correct all the time. In our Christmas get-togethers we are not supposed to talk politics, but how can we avoid it when our cable TV channels and the most outspoken candidates are working day and night to polarize us? In the midst of a messy and discouraging election campaign, we yearn for Jesus-like leadership, and wonder where it may be coming from.
But here is the good news: Christmas still comes around every December 25, inviting us to have our dreams and aspirations reborn. There is still that Silent night, Holy night whether we open our eyes to it or not. Everything else is not really part of Christmas.
Merry Christmas to all and may the shining star guide you to where you want to go in 2016.