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Friday, December 20, 2013

A Different Kind of Christmas

I will be on vacation for the next several weeks, and I wanted to leave this as food for thought while we are opening our presents under our respective Christmas Trees and celebrating the coming year. There is always someone who seems to get lost in all the shopping, baking, and decorating: Jesus. There are some among us who have too much already. We don't need presents or that cookie or that ornament, but we do need Jesus in our life.

This year my husband and I decided to not give each other a present, for the simple reason we have everything we need or want. We are not wealthy, and neither are we flush with capital, but we are rich in the knowledge that we reside in the bosom of Christ. However, we have taken joy in giving to others, to our grown children, and grandchildren. We decided to celebrate the coming of Our Savior in a more ceremonial way by attending Mass, listening to real Christmas music--no Rocking Around the Christmas Tree--and reading scripture. We want to focus only on Christ, the greatest gift, the only reason for the season.

By shedding the turmoil of shopping, traffic, baking, and all the rest of it, we have coalesced the season into its proper perspective: Focusing on the Christ child. Yes, we've fallen prey to the gift giving mania by sending presents off to our children, but they each needed what we gave, because they are struggling financially, just as we did at their age. And, at night, I count my blessings instead of sheep.

Because of the financial crisis, many have decided to be more frugal and practical this Christmas. Black Friday wasn't that black. We are all feeling the pinch. Rather than give your children dozens of toys they will break and leave forgotten in a corner, why not give a toy to a child who doesn't have any, and take a picture to put up on the wall of your child. That memory will last much longer than another toy. Bring a Christmas dinner to someone who can't afford one, and act as a waiter for the family. Do anything rather than consume. I know it's challenging, but try to remember that Christ came to die for us. Is it too much to ask that we die to consumerism? If you must buy a present, forfeit the big stores, and wander into the small businesses in your town. Buy one special gift for that person you love, rather than dozens from the big stores. Purchase something they would never get for themselves. You're helping your neighbor, and thinking outside the box.

Make Christmas special by subduing the frenetic sounds and overblown commercialism. Take time to be quiet and read the verses about the nativity in the Gospels, and pray. Pray with fervor, pray with tears, pray with love, and thank Him for coming. I wish you all a Blessed Christmas and a New Year filled with the promise of goodness and faith.

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