“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” the carol tells us.
But is it?
The longer I live, the more I believe much of the way our American culture tells us to “do” Christmas is truly toxic.
The busyness, the stress, the spending, the speed, the guilt, the comparisons, the unrealistic expectations to create a “Hallmark Christmas….” It’s overwhelming. And add the fact that the sun sets in Southwest Virginia around 5:02 pm in December, so the short days give many people the very real Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD.
At 92, my mother is blessed with a sharp mind that lets her follow the news and then discuss with others some of the events of the day. She recently saw that about 25% of Americans are still paying off their debt from last Christmas!
Having grown up in a family of eight during the Great Depression, she assessed the problem this way: “I think people spend too much money on Christmas, and then some people start thinking about what they want to buy for next Christmas.”
If you’re a caregiver for people at the other end of the age spectrum…children…I hope this gives you food for thought and the inspiration to jump off the “hamster wheel” our culture tries to put us on each December.
“Christmas Through the Eyes of a Child”
When you constantly ask me what I want and what I’m going to get, I learn that Christmas is Getting.
When you tell me I’d better be good, I learn that Christmas is Conditional.
When you make promises and don’t keep them, I learn that Christmas is Disappointment.
When you are short-tempered and make idle threats, I learn that Christmas is Unpredictable.
When you yell and hit, I learn that Christmas is Scary.
When you are mean and lose control, I learn that Christmas is Disaster.
When you drink or eat too much, I learn that Christmas is Indulgence.
When you hurry around, get up early and stay up late, I learn that Christmas is Busy.
When I see the lights and smell the cookies, I learn that Christmas is Pleasure.
When you do things for other people and help me to do the same, I learn that Christmas is Sharing.
When you buy and make gifts for others, I learn that Christmas is Giving.
When you go to church and take me with you, I learn that Christmas is Worship.
When you hum to yourself and smile at strangers, I learn that Christmas is Peace.
When you stop in your busy day and spend time with me, I learn that Christmas is Love.
—by Katharine C. Kersey