Merry or overwhelmed? Natalie is the name my parents gave to me and although I don’t think they looked into the meaning of it when they named me it actually fits in some ways. Natalie means “Christmas child”. I have always loved Christmas. I love the lights, the displays, the food, the music (specifically Mariah Carey’s Christmas album, it’s the best, don’t argue with me) and one of my all time favorite movies is Christmas Vacation. However, the older I get the more I am beginning to hate what this time of year has become.
Here’s a look at some interesting and sad things I’ve read recently about Christmas:
-Americans spend about $900 on Christmas (gifts, food, cards, decor, etc) on average person. So if you are a couple you spend about 1800 on christmas and a family of four spends $2800.
-Americans on average spend about $2900 per year to charities.Yes some spend this on Christmas alone…
-Americans billions a year just on wrapping paper.
-The “holiday blues” is a term…
-Many families dispute and have drama during the holidays.
-Many kids are brats and are showered with more than they know what to do with because some adults in their lives think they deserve every toy in the store.
Sadly, the list goes on…
However, if you look at the history of celebrations during this time of year, so of the end of year celebrations including yule logs (“I mean I don’t have a log”-chevy chase from the movie.lol), special trees, big meals, etc. actually begin before Christ was born. Some how the craziness of this year has infiltrated even the precious birth of Jesus. Christmas wasn’t a national holiday when the pilgrims came because they didn’t want to carry on the pagan traditions of they former countries. So how in the world did we get here…well it is truly an evolution of stories, traditions, etc. some good, some bad.
My challenge for you this season is to stop and think:
-Am I truly giving out of love for others or is it about me looking good and/or seeking approval?
-Is there a family member I need to forgive just like Jesus came to forgive us of our sins? Or is my personal agenda more important than a true apology (as my friend Jason recently reminded me).
-Are we being compassionate instead of bitter at those who’ve hurt us during this time? (again a reminder from Jason) Even if you are mad at God for losing a loved one this year…have you considered that you aren’t alone and others around you may be hurting too. Have you considered being compassionate to one of those individuals?
-Are there things I need to give up during this time in order to slow down and reflect during this time?
-Am I thinking about the greatest gift of all with each gift I give?
If you are a Christian, stop and consider how others may be watching you during this season. Are you sharing the love of Jesus in this season or are you overwhelmed and sharing a bad attitude b/c of all the other stuff?
Love you all and Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to my Jewish friends!