by Will Larson
When I was younger, I always looked forward to Christmas. As I’ve gotten older my excitement for the holiday has turned toward a feeling of dismay and disappointment. Most of my childhood was spent in quiet anticipation of the holidays; I was always excited for them. My favorite part included when my mother would yell up the stairs a few days after Thanksgiving. Everyone in the family knew what that meant. Because most of my mother’s family lived in Tennessee and Missouri, we would spend time creating Christmas care packages. They were filled to the brim with all sorts of homemade pies, cakes, and candies. My mother, an exquisite baker, was always happy to send them as long as they were requested. After all of the packages were finished and the handmade Christmas cards were signed, we would go outside. We either walked around town looking at Christmas lights, or, weather permitting, we would have a family snowball fight. Those days have since dwindled and faded. We are fast approaching the fifth year without my mother around. Christmas has turned into a relatively bleak thing. Gone is the traditional time of making candies and cookies. The walking around town looking at Christmas lights has passed. My family has turned into a bunch of busy people who are content spending exorbitant amounts of money on gifts that will be forgotten about a few months into the new year.
I’m not trying to be a Negative Nelly; I’m just being honest.
I feel that, as a society, we’ve forgotten to treasure the holidays for the right reasons. While gift giving is a wonderful act of love and kindness and generosity, I feel that people have lost that sense of love that goes behind it. While acts of true gift-giving still exist, I feel that we’ve slowly slipped. We’ve lost touch with what it truly means to give a gift to someone. Our society has forced upon us this idea that we have to have the most glamorous, most expensive gifts.
I believe that the bible perfectly sums up what we should be focusing on during the season. When Mary and Joseph stop at the inn, Mary is in labor and ready to give birth. The innkeeper, however, was incapable of giving them rest. In this situation, I think the innkeeper should have at least tried to help the couple find a place for Mary to give birth to her child. In addition to this, Jesus was born in a manger. Jesus’ birth alone should show us that extravagance isn’t something to be celebrated. We don’t need it, even if plush and comfort are nice. Through the number of people that came to worship Jesus on his birth, I feel it safe to draw the parallel that we should put an emphasis on loving one another during the season too.
Overall, it is my prayer for all of you that, during this holiday season, you find peace and tranquility. I hope that we can forget about the materialistic society that is being built up around us and don’t forget what truly matters. I hope that you all can cherish your families and your friends. Most importantly, I hope you remember that Christ came here, humbly, in the form of a baby, in order to be raised to die on the cross. Most importantly, Christ came here for you—to die for you—so that He could bridge the gap between us and God. God bless during this holiday season!