Tuesday, December 2, 2008

life is the most precious gift of all.

I was reading my brothers blog, he lives in Japan, and he mentioned a story about a man who worked at Walmart who was trampled to death on this last Black Friday. Trampled-to-death! I wonder if he was a dad, or even a grandfather, I know he was some ones son. A life was destroyed, stamped out, all over a deal on some cheap merchandise. Some material item of no intrinsic meaning.

It makes me angry, I have to say this has jaded yet again my view of this holiday season. Greed and selfishness have no part in this season, or anytime of the year really. And yet it seems as if this holiday season is permeated with the slime of the self centered Me, Me, Me's...in the pretense of giving to others. I am so tired of it, and I swear it gets worse year after year.

I have to admit that I myself have been in the mean spirited, impatient, get out of my way you idiots, state of mind in years past. I get way to wounded up and stressed out when things get frantic and start letting myself feel as if I just have to buy the perfect gift for everyone, and I'm simply not prepared for the Big Day looming in the distance. But in the last couple years I feel this pressure to show through example, to my children, that this commercialism is not what Christmas is about. I realized last year, when I stayed away from the shops and crowds as much as possible, that it was easier to really feel the true meaning of Christmas for us.

We decorate and have lots of fun traditions, that's the good stuff in our family.

I have never been much for excessive gift giving anyways, it all seems so greedy and unnecessary to me, but now I am almost completely against it. It's not that I want my children to wake up to empty stockings and a tree barren of gifts, it's just that I don't want to program their little brains to think that it's all about how many gifts you can get, and what kind, and if they are cooler then their friends gifts, and who got the most. It makes me sad when I hear kids talking like this.

I can think of various times when we have been to some Christmas get together and the kids who were there would just rip open their presents in a blur, all at the same time, in there own little what did I get world, and then sit around an complain about what they didn't get. Even when I was a kid myself, I knew there was something wrong with that. In my family growing up we didn't get a lot of presents, but the ones that we did get we opened slowly, one at a time. We all watch the other people as they had there turn, shared in their excitement, waited in anticipation for our turn, and really enjoyed the moment as a family. There wasn't much to enjoy for me growing up, I had a painful childhood to say the least, but this is a good memory for me. My mom had a way of making things seem special, without the greed. This is what I want to pass on to my kids. There will be a few gift for each, enough to enjoy, without being excessive, and we will open them one at a time, and really enjoy the moment of giving together.

They truly do already have enough, when I look around the playroom, and in their over flowing closet, much more then a lot of other little children in the world. They are in need of nothing more, and the children who have nothing are lingering in my mind. Children not only without gifts under the tree this year, but without food for their belly's and clothes to keep them warm. So as we go into another December, I am desperately trying to keep my perspective, not get caught up in the commercialism that is blaring everywhere, and remember the truly altruistic spirit of Christmas. Giving to others unselfishly is great, but I feel giving excessively to others who already have more then enough...that just doesn't seem right.

For us in our family Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus, so I strive to balance that with the rest of what Christmas has become. SANTA (that's a whole different rant).

I think the most important thing to remember this holiday season and all year through is to not take for granted how precious every life is, and what a gift that alone truly can be. The best gifts I have been blessed with are my beautiful boys. Nothing else compares, and they didn't come under a Christmas tree.


Kat said...

I struggle with this every year as well. I was telling my mom about how I worry the boys will just be all about presents and not really grasp the true meaning of Christmas. She kind of laughed and said, "Honey! They are so young!" And I know she is right. They should be allowed all the magic of the season. You are only young once. Still, it is always on my mind.

As I was setting up our Christmas decorations yesterday I was putting the Nativity together and my oldest kept saying, "Mom, this is the MOST IMPORTANT thing about Christmas!" It is so nice to know that they really are listening.

I saw your pic on my Follow Me Sidebar and thought I'd look ya up. I'm so glad I did. Great blog! :)

MGM said...

We've begun a tradition of celebrating Christmas with a birthday party for Jesus, cake and "Happy Birthday" singing and all.

It's a nice way to make the real point of the "holiday."