Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Be Nimble, Happy Be Quick; Happy Happen Every Tock of the Tick

This is my second year to celebrate Christmas. I've watched from behind the scenes for over 10 years and it is interesting to finally be among those celebrating. People celebrate for many different reasons. Some celebrate to give; some to get; some just to celebrate; and mostly, because...  their parents and grandparents and great grandparents celebrated.

I love and hate things that surround Christmas. I hate the commercialization. I hate that some people must depend on Christmas for part of their salary or to keep their business above the red. I hate the entire "give me, give me, give me" attitude.

But I love more about this holiday than I hate.

I adore it when kids tell me that they are giving each person in their family three gifts and that they made the gifts. I love it when kids come into the store and search long and hard for the perfect gift for Mum or Dad. I love the giving aspect of Christmas. Don't tell me it doesn't exist and that all modern children are greedy. I know it's not true because I've seen the exact opposite so many times.

I love seeing people freeing themselves of current woes to be joyful. Their eyes sparkle and their lips smile and "Merry Christmas" aura floats around them like a blanket that warms everyone near them. I want to see this happen to people all year around. I don't think it's a fake attitude or one that should be frowned upon: happiness is to be welcomed at any time or place. But I wish for joy, everywhere, at all times.

The radio plays in the store on a popular station which plays many hours of music each day. Usually, it's music from the 70's, 80's and 90's, none of it remotely religious or spiritual. Yesterday, I heard a song about Jesus and I was amazed as I listened: the lyrics depicted his life, his death, resurrection and how we can be one with him. I couldn't believe what I was hearing.

Any reason to celebrate something good is a good reason to celebrate. People get into the spirit and are excited. Some people don't. But then, those folks don't get excited about anything anymore...

That leads me to the last thing I hate about Christmas or holidays in general: they end. The radio plays music up until December 26th and then, it's back to regular fare. The stores take down their decorations. The gifts are all opened. The food is just leftovers (though I admit that turkey leftovers are awfully yummy). Can't Christmas or birthdays or Easter or any holiday at all last more than a day or two? As with anything, it all depends on the attitude. I believe it can. I believe Jesus lived each day as though it was a gift. Life is not easy most of the time. We are meant to struggle as well as be happy. But I think there is a spirit of love that each one of us can embrace, regardless of where we are or where we have been.

Sam and I got to talking about the holocaust last night. That evolved into genecides and mass killings. (I promise this all fits together... please keep reading. :-)) Sam said that studies show that these horrible things happen not because people are evil. It is because of the mindset of the society they live in: killing your neighbor or the people under your rule is simply a way to erase a problem.

We have all seen or perhaps even felt the effects of such a mindset. It's frightening to think where a simple lack of respect for life can lead you. And we could all be the guilty ones, given the opportunity. There is no right or wrong method to curve ideals like these but I think a good place to begin is by making every day and every person your priority. I don't know what that means for you or even what that means for me: life changes in a blink of an eye. But keeping that good-will-to-all-men spirit every single day of the year is a great place to start.

Don't do it because it makes you feel good. Don't do it to look better to others. Don't do it for any selfish reason. Don't do it because you're frightened of yourself. Do it because that's what Jesus would do. Do it because it will lead you to Truth. Do it because people need to feel that joyful, Christmas spirit every single day of their lives. Do it because it's the most right thing to do.

"It’s Christmas Eve! It’s… it’s the one night of the year when we all act a little nicer, we… we… we smile a little easier, we… w-w-we… we… we cheer a little more. For a couple of hours out of the whole year, we are the people that we always hoped we would be!" -- Bill Murray [Scrooged]

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