“Why?” I asked.
“Cause then we could get presents every day,” she responded quickly.
As I reflected later on this conversation I wonder if Christmas shouldn’t really be everyday of the year. My young granddaughter, although she knows Christmas is the celebration of Christ's birth, still measures Christmas in the material gifts she receives, a Christmas tree, decorations, lots of pretty lights, Santa, much company, a huge dinner and many wonderful surprises. Best of all, it includes gifts from Mom, Dad, aunts, uncles, grandparents and friends.
Oddly enough, many adults measure Christmas this way, as well. For them it is spending hours at the store buying gifts for everyone on their list, wrapping their treasures, parties, decorations and finally ending Christmas morning with the opening of presents. After the clean up and big family dinner, Christmas is over. Their “holiday” is finished with little thought given to why we celebrate Christmas at all. The true meaning is often lost in all the busy-ness of the season.
%2 26nbsp; I challenge the theory of Christmas being only one day a year. Christmas, like my granddaughter innocently suggested, is everyday, or at least should be. The measurement of Christmas isn’t in material gifts; rather it should be measured in non-tangible and “spiritual” gifts. Joy is one of these gifts that cannot be measured, yet profound. The birth of a child, the love of a spouse, the kindness of a friend, hope in the future, or the wonder of nature all produce joy that can only be described as a gift.
A friend recently shared her friend has cancer, and each week my friend sends a card of encouragement. “It’s such a small thing,” my friend said with tears in her eyes, “but she told me very often those cards help her through her day.” Sending a card is a simple gesture, but a way to brighten another person’s life. This is demonstrating kindness, a very special heart warming gift.
Expectant hope rises in an older granddaughter as she prepares in the spring to graduate from high school. Before her are dreams of college, career, and eventually a family of her own. We cannot know what waits ahead in any of our lives, but without the hope of attaining goals we would have no reason to work toward our dreams. Hope, too, therefore, becomes a gift that has no boundaries or measure.
Wind howls outside my window sending chills through me. Nature displays itself majestically as glistening snow covers the ground in a white, downy blanket. Nature is also, visible in rain that waters the earth, flowers that bloom in spring, natural falls that cascade down the mountainside and sunshine that warms my face. These, too, are gifts which produce joy.
As another grandchild toddles across the room, my heart fills with warmth and love. This feeling of love is greater than all else. It is shared with my spouse and is transcended to our children and to our grandchildren. It is demonstrated in the way we care for them and for each other and in turn their response to us. What greater gift is there than this?
These non-tangible%essence of Christmas: joy, love, hope, friendship, and nature. Are there more? Absolutely! Loyalty, companionship, dependability, trustworthiness and faithfulness, are only a few. The list can go on and on. Christmas is everyday, if we choose it to be. Is it buying and receiving material gifts? It is part of it, but the greater gift is found in the deeper meaning of Christmas. It is in the birth of God’s Son in a manger those 2000 years ago that gives love, hope and joy. It is what we can give and do for each other every day of the year that demonstrates Christmas all year long.