December 23


Today's quotation:

At Christmastime, children play an essential part in our celebrations.  So much of what we do is intended to please them-- and all the while our hearts keep hearkening back to the Christmas memories of our own childhoods.  On Christmas Eve, sometimes we can't help but envy our children the stars in their eyes, especially when our own eyes are dull with exhaustion.     Christmas is so much simpler for a child.  Can we open our tired, adult eyes to that same simplicity?

Ellen Sanna

Today's Meditation:

Almost everyone that I know complicates Christmas a great deal.  They buy too many gifts, or worse, they feel obligated to buy too many gifts because of what they perceive as other people's expectations (and potential disappointment).  They dread the family get-togethers and don't want to go to them, but they rarely say no.  They spend more money than they have and then suffer for that for months afterwards.  It's quite sad that we don't allow ourselves simply to sit back and enjoy the Christmas season.

A lot of the stress that we feel during the season is based on expectations, especially those of the children that we don't want to disappoint.  Many kids have developed grandiose expectations of gifts to be gotten, and they know how to put the pressure on their parents if they feel that there's the slightest possibility of getting what they want.  But trying to meet other people's expectations is rarely a recipe for happiness.  Christmas should be a great opportunity for us to show people who we are in our generosity, not a chance to show them that they can manipulate us with their expectations.

Simplifying Christmas is very important if we ever want to feel the true joy of the holiday.  Christmas is about peace and the joy we can share with others, and there are plenty of ways that we can share those things without getting caught up in the decorating contests and the buying frenzies and the manipulations.  In our family, we realized early on that Christmas should be simple, and the simpler we keep it, the more we're able to give during the rest of the year, also.

Remember, pleasing children isn't a question of giving in to all their whims and wants.  Pleasing them also has to do with teaching them the true importance of holidays such as Christmas, about the reverence and the peace and the joy we're meant to share.  They can help us to realize this joy if we can just learn about the wonder and the magic from them, and combine that knowledge with our own knowledge of the significance of the more important aspects of the holiday season.

Questions to consider:

Do you find Christmas to be a stressful time or a peaceful, reverent time?  Why?

What kinds of things can we learn from children during the holidays?

Why does simpler tend to be better in almost everything?

For further thought:

Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind.  To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.

Calvin Coolidge

more thoughts and ideas on Christmas



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