The joy of Christmas was lost to me, years ago. I suppose I grew up. Or worse, I grew old. A childlike wonder I vaguely remember was slowly replaced by an ache in my stomach. Shopping. Commercials. Travel. Frenzy. Stress. Debt... all in the name of Christmas. It seemed to me that the standard of a 'good' Christmas must be measured monetarily, either spent or received. My wife called me 'Scrooge' (on more than one occasion), to which I replied, "Bah!"
This Christmas, I decided, will be different. This Christmas will be holy. After all, holiday is a good word. And so, I made a list to help my focus (I am a continual list-maker). I offer it to the fellow Scrooges of the world.
1. Read the Story
The story of Christmas, found in the 2nd Chapter of Luke, is filled with wonder. Whether you are Christian, Jew, Atheist, or anything in-between, the story is beautiful, the story is the essence of Christmas- the gift of Life.
2. Make something
I know, I know... Christmas gifts should be bought, not made. After all, what if they don't like it? This question, it occurred to me, was a major source of my stress. I had to re-think the joy of gift-giving. I don't imagine God stressing out that first Christmas, wondering, "Will they like the gift of My Son?"
And then, there are those who claim, "I'm not creative." To that I say, "Bah!" Make cookies, write a poem, draw a picture- the handmade gift says, "I took the time to do this for you."
3. Make a list
(another one) of things I am grateful for, leaving room for add-ins. Put the list on the refrigerator. Nota bene, include things that money can't buy.
4. Perform randomly anonymous acts of kindness
Suggestion- mail someone a gift card, with no return address on the envelope.
5. Remember simplicity
Less is more. Christ was born in a stable, placed in a food trough and shared with smelly shepherds.
This Christmas will be different. I am determined. And, I have a list.