I have heard many times over that celebrating the Christmas holiday has become too commercialized, with stores displaying Christmas decorations well ahead of Thanksgiving, sometimes before the Halloween decorations have been removed. In past years I have been in agreement with this philosophy, wishing out loud that we could just skip right over the whole month of December. Looking back I am not sure what fed my disdain for Christmas. Perhaps it was feeling obligated to buy gifts for people I didn't really even like, or feeling the superficiality of the whole gift buying obligation. I recognized that many times people feel the financial strain of having to buy presents when they were having a hard time making their rent, or paying their electric bills, but for some reason there is this mentality that it is expected. I remember many years ago when I had no money for presents, I would give presents of things that I made myself, and I still find this a wonderful alternative for people with limited income. But this year something within me shifted. I found myself looking forward to the holiday season. In contemplation, I have come to the conclusion that this is what changed.
When we look at an obligation as an obligation, as a sacrifice that we are making that is taking away from us in some form, then that obligation becomes to us a burden. We feel we are losing something. This applies to gift giving but it also applies to anything that we do. If we feel that in the giving of a gift that we are sacrificing our hard earned income in order to give something to someone else, then that gift is a burden to us and to the other person it will be a burden as well, because even if it is a fine gift, that person will always feel the energy of our sacrifice.
If we look at Christmas as a time when businesses are all rallying to rid us of our hard earned money, then rid us they will.
If we think that the real meaning of Christmas is being lost, that there is no real Christmas Spirit left, that Santa Claus has replaced Jesus, then this is what will be true for us.
What I am suggesting is that the real meaning of Christmas cannot be lost if it is not lost within each of us as individuals. Gift giving is not a burden unless we make it one. Businesses are not trying to rid us of our money. Most of them are trying to make a living, just like we all are.
Why not change our perspective? Look at a gift we are giving to another as an extension of the love that we have within us. Look at it as a blessing we are happy to give, not a burden or an obligation that is somehow taking away something from us. Look at the different aspects of the holiday from a perspective of something that we want to do, not something that we have to do.
I have news for you. Jesus wasn't born in December anyway. I am happy to celebrate his birthday, but what if the gifts we give each other were one way of giving a birthday gift to Jesus? He is not here in physical form to accept a gift for his birthday, so the gifts we give each other are our way of giving him a gift. And for my non- religious readers, what if the gifts you give represent some aspect of the giving of the love you have within your heart? Fill your gifts with the energy of the love in your heart. Give with the attitude that you are just sharing of the abundance that is within you, not that you are sacrificing your hard earned income and that you really don't like so and so anyway, why do you have to give them a gift?
There was a movie out a few years ago of a girl who was a chef, and every emotion she felt would go into the food she prepared in such a way that the people in the restaurant would respond in direct response to the emotions she was feeling as she prepared the food. So if she was mad, then all her customers would be mad. If she was upset, those eating at the restaurant would all start crying. What if this was an exaggerated illustration of a profound truth? What if the emotions we feel really do go into everything we do and into the food we prepare and the gifts we give one another?
What if everything we did, we did with the attitude that we were choosing to do this thing, that it was something we wanted to do, not something we felt obligated to do? I think our world would change. If love went into all our activities, that we had the attitude that when we went to work that we were giving a gift to our employer, that we enjoyed working and even looked at our difficult bosses with the attitude that we were giving them a gift of love and blessing, and not obligation, not sacrifice, how would our days change?
Just for today, any time you think that you are sacrificing of yourself of that you are giving something up, change your perspective. Decide to think instead that you are choosing to do an activity that you would otherwise think of as an obligation or a sacrifice. Choose to give a gift to someone who you don't really care for. Instead of thinking about what you want, think about what you can give. Instead of thinking about what you need, think about what you have. Give to someone something that you would like for yourself. If you would like to be understood, give understanding. If you would like respect, give respect. Most of all, if you need love, then give love.
Put love into every gift you give this year. Remember that every thought you think in some way is transmitted energetically to those around you. Even that crazy driver who just cut you off. Even that ex that did this or did that. That boss who annoys you or that check out clerk who is rude to you. None of them can take from you unless you allow it. Choose to be a blessing. Go the extra mile. Send out the energy of love into every activity.
Give everyone the respect to celebrate the holidays the way that they decide to do so. Remember that there is no right or wrong way to deal with the holidays. The only thing you are responsible for is how you choose to live your life. Do so with abandon!!