As I try to insert myself into this calm and tranquil scene
and soak the peace and serenity,
the world around me is about to explode
into a frenzy of shopping, feasting and merry-making.
It is the end of the year.
People are rushing through their shopping
to buy presents, food and drinks.
Businesses are enjoying, not Christmas bells,
but the ringing of cash registers tallying up sales.
The frenzy is for more goods and material things
that are better, faster, fancier.
It is a never-ending cycle of growth and consumption.
It is supposed to make us happy.
But it is a very sad reality.
We live in a finite physical world,
and we fill ourselves with infinite wants and desires.
At the rate we are going, we either run out of resources
or we run out of space and burst at the seams.
Christmas was never meant to be like this.
The first Christmas was in a stable,
simple, humble, uncluttered and austere.
Many have already taken Christ out of Christmas.
And it is now the politically correct, “Happy Holidays.”
But Christ is really and actually the reason for the season.
And we have made this reason the reason for our wild dash to self-destruction.
If we listen to the message and meaning of Christmas,
we might yet save ourselves as a species.
I imagine myself there in the stable,
looking with marvel at the baby in the manger
– poor, humble, hardly noticed, on a quiet and silent night.
These are the thoughts that run though my mind:
Many gifts given are often worthless and unwanted.
Why don’t we give instead the gift of self and presence to those who are dear to us?
Many presents are ridiculously expensive and corruptive.
Why don’t we instead give experiences and memories as presents for dear friends?
Can’t we tone down on the feasting and the drinking,
and share what we save with others?
I wish everyone a simple yet blessed Christmas.