Christmas – Reality Forgotten
It’s that time of year again and rather than it being a joyous occasion, it often tends to result in stress and is also the highest levels of suicide at this time of year. OK, so I am perhaps being a bit gloomy, but unfortunately the truth hurts. We have long forgotten the values of what Christmas really means and no one needs to suffer during the holiday season; at lease that should be the way it is, but in the world we live in today, it is not like that. Many suffer needlessly.
I remember years ago when money was scarce, we had only just returned from abroad and had only enough to have a wonderful home cooked meal this Christmas. We had little furniture in the house we were renting and not enough money to buy presents, yet it was my favorite Christmas ever. It felt as if I had gone back to a time when there was little materialism then, and the holiday meant a time for gratitude, prayer, reflection and celebration of family values and life. My wife planned a lovely meal, and even though we had only enough money for the food, we were more excited at the prospect of being together and having a lovely meal together whilst watching Christmas TV. On Christmas-day, we walked along the river whilst the turkey was cooking in the oven. We were happy and never a thought of lack passed through our minds, and we were especially grateful of having each other. We realized how fortunate we were as so many were lonely and had no one to turn to. Yes it was the greatest christmas we spent and being together at the time was more important. We never had gifts, yet this was more a strength than a weakness and we did not see this as a lack of anything.
Let’s come back to reality for a moment and make a few observations that I experienced over the last few days. I have noticed increasingly, the desperation in people as they struggle and panic to survive the Christmas period, making sure they get everything that their loved ones desire. I noticed that it was all about what someone was getting or what they wanted while they maneuvered around a tramp who had his hands out looking for alms. “Just enough for a cup of tea” he said and the two women held their noses high – pretending he did not exist. Another person intimated they would be getting the new Ipad and a new 3D Tv; they were all asleep and I was saddened at how material the world had become.
Everyone is frantically buying for someone and sometimes even for people they do not really see or even like. I often wonder if many people really know what Christmas is about. When did we become so material? In the greed that exists within this period, we often cause more suffering than is necessary. We gorge ourselves into destruction and are often jealous of other people and what they have or why they should have it.
Everything in life is a simple choice and you can choose to be happy, to be forgiving or to be angry, it really is up to you how you live your life. There are many who are obsessed with being the best and winning at all costs, but the reality is that winning only creates suffering. No one needs to suffer and again, we can make the choice of helping others through their suffering. One point that I must make is that just because it is christmas, you should not do something good for someone out of guilt or give alms because it makes you look good. Give silently and with a prayerful thought. Help someone without making too much out of It and the next time that you are desperate for that new gadget, think of how much you really need it if you have everything else around you, don’t give to get, give to love and show love.
Christmas is also a time of forgiveness and this could be the greatest gift that you could give this year. Is there someone either in your family or in your circle that you have had issue with. Ask yourself If the issues you have are from a lack of understanding or ignorance. It is not easy to forgive and forget, and before you can truly forgive anyone else, you must learn to forgive yourself and truly love yourself because you are a child of God like everyone else, and god has no favorites. What is the point of harboring anger for something that can’t change immediately. Think about how much wasted time you put into being angry. Is there not an easier way to use that time in learning to understand and forgive. Think about this, if you could learn to forgive someone who in your eyes has committed that gravest of injustice against you, then you are treading the path of Christ. You can then truly understand the real power behind the Christmas period. Its not about gifts, its about love and forgiveness.
God Bless you all,
Written by Jock Brocas