Christmas is supposedly a time of great love – the sharing of swelling emotion, lots of time with family and friends. For some it may mean a massive stack of presents. For others, it’s about the birth of Christ. For others, it’s just a fantastic excuse to get good and solidly inebriated, to the point that one spends most of their time either numbly perched in front of a television and slowly drooling, falling over and giggling manically at inanimate objects, or punching the crap out of someone who “looked at you wrong”. Christmas is, however, a time of great stress – bosses screaming at their employees, employees screaming at their families, mothers screaming at their children to “GET OFF THE TROLLY, YOU LITTLE TWAT! DO I HAVE TO COME OVER THERE AND SMACK YOU? BECAUSE I WILL!” Many a time, when I braved the hordes of glazed-eye shoppers, laden down with piles of Christmas gifts that will undoubtedly be ripped open, prodded for an average of two hours, and then promptly forgotten, I’ve become ensconced in the capitalistic premise that has surgically extricated the meaning of Christmas right out of this religious holiday.
Watching shoppers move through the tinsel-laden walkways of large shopping centers, movements similar to that of public toilet waste disposal workers, knowing that they’re trudging about doing as task that is ugly, but has to be performed. But then we have to ask ourselves, is this what Christmas all about? Are we becoming more and more like the poor, and penultimate depressed Charlie Brown? Searching for the true meaning of the holiday amidst the glitz and commercialism of the modern age? At a time when he should have been happy, and we are being told that we too, SHOULD be happy, he was sad. In his despair, he cried out, “Doesn’t anyone know the real meaning of Christmas?” Of course his good friend, Linus van Pelt, came to his rescue with an inspiring recitation of the story of the birth of Christ from Luke, Chapter 2, in the Bible. But do we ourselves have a friend as good, as optimistic, or lets face it, as intelligent, to help us through this stressful time? I mean, not to just quote scripture, but to give us a hand up? To help us when we’re down? To remind us of the importance of family? I’ve used far too many question marks in this one paragraph alone, but work with me here kids.
Christmas has traditionally been a time of plenty of running about, arms in the air, screaming at people and trying to get things done in the little time that you left for yourself. Strangely enough, you would think this wouldn’t apply to Christmas preparations at any sort of religious venue. MY, AREN’T YOU WRONG! Every year, each one of us struggles with our own demons, and get a little crazy, trying to churn out a Christmas production that doesn’t resemble a dog’s breakfast, and this year was no exception. But even through we may stress, complain, whinge and yell at random intervals at random individuals: “Not only have you boarded the HMS Failboat, you’ve already set sail and are in the middle of the Fail Sea,” we all slowly come to realise, through this stress and our own weaknesses, each one of us is strengthened in knowing that we have come together to create something wonderful.
So, as Christmas closes in on us all, I just want to wish you all a very:
No matter where you are, what your background, let the spirit of Christmas – the joy of giving, sharing and loving, not only be adhered to those few days in December where we are told that we must, but be able to allow ourselves to let this feeling pervade our entire year.
“Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.” — Oren Arnold