I fear our modern mingling of Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday Deals. I’m not sure any reasonable explanation can pinpoint this symptom as well as our failure in the reality of eternal things & meanings, and our excessive desire for instant gratification.
I ask myself specifically: Are we happier to shove gifts at one another instead of cultivating diligent relationships? I have to ask about the quality of relationships with holidays get-together-s and greetings. How real and sincere are they? How based solely in tradition are they?
I love the idea of a season for warming the hearts as the earth becomes cold and the nights become darker and longer, but as I unsuccessful shop for gifts I find myself wondering more about intentions of these material things. As much as I love the sale, adventures, and saving tons of money …I still can’t shake the wonderment of why I need to spend so much money in first place to get the sales in the second place? Although it sounds like a “value”, am I truly giving my loved ones that which can be truly valued?
Have I spent the year spreading truth so love & peace can grow (and be reaped) in these relationships in times ahead? Have I been faithful or skimpy in sharing my life & love with others? Have I been giving gifts of joy and humor and the healing they bring into one’s life? Do the people I love know that I care about them on a regular basis and in any situation, or they have to wait for a crisis or holiday to hear from me?
I find a strange satisfaction in coming to the holidays with low money. It allows me the freedom to ask if the things which will matter most in the next year to come is something I’ve already been investing in, or did I think some cheap (or not so cheap gift) would be successful enough to suffices for words of love & encouragement or laughter & cheer?
I like Christmas. I’m not a Scrooge. I’m not anti-gifts. But I’m fearful to ever trade something deep & lasting for something instant & perishable. I fear hiding behind things in order to perpetuate a system which is synthetic and replaces the actual relating of relationships. I fear basing my worth on how good of a gift I can get for others. I fear Thanksgiving to be one day for a few hours and “I want” “I need” every other day and hour of our life, let alone celebrating material things for the next 6 weeks.
Can we dwell in thanks-giving in order to full embrace and indulge in the Christmas spirit? Can we even believe that Christmas might still have something to do with “Peace on Earth” and “Goodwill towards mankind (and those who God’s favor rest)”? Can we believe in such non-instant things?
I’d like to! I’d like to make the most of the deep, but somehow underlying, things in these holiday season(s).
How can I make it in to another New Year, if I cannot extent my thanks-giving beyond just a day or a few hour feast? How can I find meaning deep enough to sustain me if I don’t dwell in joy? If I don’t expand in thanks? If I don’t Love without material, tangible, perishable goods?
If my heart is not filled but my stomach and car are, than I have nothing, and I have let myself become nothing.
I cannot waste a year. I cannot waste a holiday. I am still so thankful, in the midst of these bitter cold and darkening times. I feel the love of friends. I feel the inspiration of family. I feel the call of those who need both friends & family, and I desire to be someone who can begin to meet the need. But I must begin with this year and these choices. I begin with Thanks. …everything else can wait.