“As a matter of fact, I am,” I answered, because for the first time, I felt I really was. I was in Divinity School then and doing a lot of thinking about what the meaning of Christmas might be for a Jew-hu-UU (that’s a Jewish, humanist, Unitarian Universalist) with Pagan tendancies. “I’ve tried to be a beacon of Light in this dark season; I’ve sent messages of Love and Light to family and friends; I’ve made donations to charities in lieu of gifts for everyone on my list; I’ve arranged to have Christmas dinner and a big sack of presents anonymously delivered to a family in need on Christmas morning; and I’ve preached a sermon on why non-Christians might also celebrate Christmas. Yes, I am ready for Christmas this year.”
“No,” my hairdresser said. “I mean, did you finish all your Christmas shopping?”
Unfortunately, my hairdresser wasn’t the only one thinking the holiday season is about shopping. I think an awful lot of us (including myself on most years) get caught up in that. After all, if you live in America, it’s kind of hard not to. But now that we’re in that slight lull between Christmas, Hannukah and New Years, give yourself a gift of reflecting on the real meaning of the holiday season. This might be different for different people. But I’m guessing that for most of us, it ain’t about shopping!
For me, it’s about being thankful for, and making a better effort to share, all the riches that I have. I try to remember that simply because I have food in my refrigerator, clothes on my back and a roof over my head, I am richer than 75% of the world’s population. And if I have money in the bank (even just a little), a few dollars in my wallet and some spare change in a jar by the door, than I am among the top 8% of the world’s wealthiest people. And because I woke up this morning with more health than illness, I am more blessed than the one million people who will not survive the week.
It can be hard to remember how well-off we are in America. Especially now. But no matter what your situation might be, it can be helpful to focus on what you do have, rather than what you wish you had. No matter what you got or didn’t get this holiday season, and even more important, what you were or were not able to give – if you are reading this, then you no doubt have been given great gifts and great wealth. Cherish it. Enjoy it. Be ever-grateful for it. And by all means, share it.
And speaking of giving – we are giving away a fabulous prize to one lucky entrant in our Fabulous Holiday Contest. C’mon . . . don’t make me give the prize to my mother! Click here to enter! And feel free to leave a comment and tell me, what does the Holiday Season mean to you?