Greatest Gifts

When I hear the stories about Black Friday and hear how folks are crowding through the entry ways knocking each other over to get through the doors, I am shocked. The goal of hitting these special sales is to obtain gifts for Christmas, gifts that are to celebrate the birth of Jesus by showing love for others. In the process of obtaining these gifts, people are literally stomping on each other to obtain items to simply save money. I venture to say, if you have to lose your self- respect in the process, maybe the savings is not worth it.

I know that times are tough right now in this downtrodden economy but this is not the only time in the course of American history that this has been the case. In the Depression, money for Christmas gifts was almost non-existent. Folks had to be resourceful or bypass giving during the holiday season all together. But they managed to retain the true joy of Christmas without the splendor of all the gifts, the Christmas cards, the lights and the trimmings. In spite of this, families found the holidays joyous. This must be surprising to all those Black Friday shoppers knocking each other down for the best deals!

Commercialization of Christmas does not make it complete nor better, just different. The spirit of Christmas originates from the heart. Christmas is not from a dollar bill but found when one reflects on a manger in a stable of an inn keeper in Bethlehem. Do not forget that a poor couple with no place to stay was where the first Christmas originated from. Hardly the picture of wealth as we see in today’s world of holiday splendor!

I enjoy the holiday lights, shows and fanfare as much as anyone. I do not intend on giving that up. However, losing sight of the true meaning can make the 25th of December nothing more than a one day holiday and not something to reflect on the entire year. Jesus’s birth was meant to be a starting point for giving, that spirit is meant to continue. That salvation we were given doesn’t end after Christmas.

My immediate family has chosen this Christmas to make ours about our family. We want to focus on what Christmas is really all about, being together. That, to us, is the one of the best gifts of all, the love we have for each other and the love for what the original Christmas is about, the birth of Jesus. Times are tough right now in this financial crunch. It does not make sense to indulge on each other unnecessarily to express our feelings for each other. The size of the gift or the value of the gift cannot equate to how we feel.

I love both of my children, my daughter-in-law and my son-in-law and no gift will do that love justice. They know it is there regardless of a gift. We are all blessed to share this sentiment and would prefer to celebrate that, being a true loving caring family more so than opening gifts with each other.

We are trying it out this year, this concept of no gift giving other than buying for the children, though our family is not large. Who knows, it may become a tradition. It seems odd to many, including us, but I am so proud of our family for doing this. It shows that our hearts are in the right place. It allows us to not worry needlessly over what to get each other, how much to spend and all that unnecessary stress that goes along with gift buying.

My family is dedicated to the spirit of Christmas and it makes us eager for Christmas day to just spend it together. Our morning will be spent sitting back watching the children light up as they open up their gifts and scream with glee seeing what wonderful toys Santa brought them and the gifts we have showered them with.

I am sure we will each, individually reflect on our own moments we had, as children. Somehow, in seeing Christmas though children’s eyes puts us all in touch with the child inside of ourselves as adults. No one can truly forget the wonder of being a child and experiencing Santa’s generosity!

Sitting by the tree, huddled as a family, I know we will no longer feel we need those moments to be lavished with gifts to feel special, to feel loved. We know that the love is all around us when we are all together as a family. around us also, for that is truly what the holiday is about. Christmas signifies God’s love; For God so loved the world that he gave his only son……

May you always remember that the best gifts in life can’t be found in a retail store!
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