I don’t know about you, but for me, the Christmas Season was always filled with a spirit of peace, joy, love, and goodwill toward all. As a small child I would anxiously wait for the season to begin. There was always so much magic in the air. No matter where you went or who you bumped into (sometimes quite literally). people always seemed to have a smile on their face and kindness in their hearts. The Spirit of Christmas was felt everywhere. As a young child, Christmas was about the birth of Christ first, followed by the arrival of Santa. Naturally, as a child, I looked forward to Santa’s visit, hoping I might catch a glimpse of him in the sky but I never lost sight of the Birth of the Baby Jesus. I loved seeing all the Nativity scenes displayed almost everywhere.
I remember one year, I couldn’t have been more than six years old. My godmother had taken me to NYC where she worked. They were having a Christmas Party at her office and Santa was going to be there. Not only was he there, but he had a gift for me with my name on it. Wow. I opened that gift and found a beautiful porcelain Tea Set inside. I couldn’t believe Santa had given me such a beautiful gift. I was going to cherish it. My aunt and I left the party and were heading home when I noticed a man dressed in a uniform and ringing a bell. I asked my aunt what he was doing and she told me he was collecting money to give gifts to other children who may not get any presents for Christmas. I was saddened at the thought of this and decided to give my Tea Set to the man in uniform. My aunt said the gift was for me but I insisted until she had to finally give in to my wish. Both my aunt and the man were taken aback that I would do this. All I could think about was how I could bring joy to another child by showing love. Wasn’t that why the Baby Jesus was born, to show His love for others? Well, I wanted to show my love for others as well. It wasn’t until many years later that I found out that my aunt had purchased that special gift for me. No wonder she didn’t want me to give it away. Even though I felt bad about giving the gift away, I felt good that I held my ground and in the process learned about the joy of giving.
As I became a teenager, my delight for Christmas heightened. I was now able to join in the spirit of Christmas by buying presents for those I cared about. The presents were never much, a bottle of Old Spice After Shave for my dad, Jean Nate Cologne for my mom and Brute Cologne for my 3 brothers. Simple gifts that came from the heart. While I enjoyed receiving presents, my joy truly came in giving. I loved shopping for presents, waiting in line with arms full of goodies and smiling because I was feeling the peaceful flow underneath the hustle and bustle. The magic of Christmas filled my heart. I looked forward to making my list, buying presents, wrapping them, getting all the little extras that were equated with the season of joy, going to Midnight Mass and focusing on the Nativity.
I was thrilled when I got a job in a local card and gift shop and was able to assist customers, especially during Christmas time. There was something so special in sharing in the delight of others. I loved wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. One day as I was wishing a customer a Merry Christmas, he looked at me and said: “Thanks but I’m Jewish. After that, if I was unsure about whether a person celebrated Christmas or not, I would play it safe and wish them a happy holiday. I had no agenda, I just wanted to share my joy. Nothing made me happier than greeting people with a warm smile and a kind word.
I’m not sure exactly when or how it happened but somewhere between then and now the whole dynamic of Christmas changed for me. Commercialism along with frustration, impatience, intolerance and political correctness found their way into the season that I once cherished. I remember one year, I waited patiently in line with a shopping cart filled to the brim with presents. I walked up to the cashier wished her a Merry Christmas and heard nothing in reply. I said it again, still no answer. I said it one more time and then with fear in her eyes she said they were told they were not allowed to say Merry Christmas anymore. WHAT? Did I not have a cart full of “Christmas” presents that I was purchasing? They had no problem selling Christmas presents, they just didn’t want to acknowledge the fact that Christmas represented Christ. No problem. I left the cart full of gifts at the counter. I was not gonna buy Christmas gifts from a place that refused to acknowledge the existence of Christ. I walked out feeling hurt and angry by what was happening to Christmas. I took a good look around me and started to realize that the magic of Christmas was slowly slipping away. With it went my joy. I went through all the motions but felt empty inside as though a piece of my heart had been ripped apart. I had gotten caught up in the commercialism of it all and was beginning to feel it’s aftermath. I had allowed myself to fall prey to all the new representation of Christmas. Foolish, foolish me. The focus of Christmas had become more on Santa, gift buying, commercialism, and political correctness with less thought of the Baby that was born on Christmas Day.
As I looked around my house this week at all my decorations, I couldn’t help but feel ashamed at how much I had changed. I went from a child who gave freely out of love, to an older woman who had gotten caught up in the elimination of Christ in Christmas. I had to remind myself that without Christ, there is no hope. Without Christ there is no peace, and without Christ there would never have been a Christmas to celebrate. Christmas was not meant to be about Santa or presents. It is about the presence of the greatest gift given to mankind. The Baby Jesus. While it’s a beautiful and thoughtful gesture to give gifts, never lose sight of the Gift that was given to us all. The presence of the Baby Jesus. He is the reason we celebrate.
If you’re like me and have become too caught up in the hype of Christmas, take a moment to remind yourself of the Gift of Christmas. It is about a Fathers love for His children and a Child’s love for His Father and all His brothers and sisters. God so loved the world, that He sent His only Son to be sacrificed, so that all His children may live in eternal peace. That is the hope of Christmas. It is the true meaning of Christmas.
I bid you all a season of peace and hope by extending a very Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good and hopeful life! ️️
Married 44 years to my hubby whose purpose in life is to prevent me from getting through the “Pearly Gates”. Mother of two, Nanna of four loving granddaughters and retired secretary aka administrative assistant. I went to the University of Hard Knocks where I received my Doctorate. My thesis is titled: How To Survive Life’s Trials Without Killing Yourself or Someone Else. I live by the belief that when life throws you a curve, learn from it rather than use it against yourself. Faith and humor are my survival kit. Appreciate the simple things for they are the true treasures of life.