Saturday, November 26, 2011

The season of the magical wand.

I love the holidays.   The reasons I love them are different than most people would expect.  But first, I must get a negative rant in...

I hate the shopping and the gifts.  No hate, is a weak work.  Abhor.  Yes, that's better.  When the television ads start blaring "Black Friday" specials and classic holiday songs become distorted to sell high end automobiles, I want to scream.  This race to save money on gifts has become so prolific that people will forgo a warm Thanksgiving meal with friends or family to camp overnight in front of stores.  Aren't these presents for the very people they just missed having dinner with?  How sad.  The greater gift would have been their presence at the holiday meal giving thanks for their companionship and love not stampeding for merchandise at the neighborhood Walmart. 

By the way, when did my children become so entitled?   The moment the jingles begin I start hearing, "Mom, I want this...", or  "Dad, for Christmas can I have...".  How did this happen?  They've been spoiled.  We've done it.  Now, suddenly when the money is tight, the family room won't be filled with gifts like it used to be.  They both know about Santa (though Austynn still fights it), and last year was our first of many slim years to come; however they still have this sense of entitlement.  I want this, I want that, when Nana sends me my Christmas money, I'm going to buy this.  Hearing them talk like this makes me grind my teeth.  Perhaps this year, I'll ask my Mom to donate their money to charity.  I'm ashamed that I've taught them this sense of privilege.  It's going to be difficult to undo what we've done.

Food.  Everyone wants to eat.  Eat to excess; cooking parties, dinners, desserts.  Everything is rich and delicious and cozy and there's so much of it that we partake until we're sick or it goes to waste.  So many people go hungry in this world and this is how we celebrate the season of giving?  Deep sigh.

So in all of this negativity you're wondering how I can possibly say, I love the holidays?  Okay.  I'll play.  Because even though the season brings out the worst in people, like everything else it has an opposite effect as well.  It also brings out the very, very best. 

When I drove up my street on Thanksgiving, I saw families (those who were not sitting in front of stores), gathering on their porches for pictures, hugging one another in kitchens, or playing ball together in their yards.  Groups of people -- friends and loved ones drawn together to share a common meal and give thanks for their blessings.  The very thought of this makes my giddy with happiness.  We should do this everyday. Every Sunday?  Well, beggars can't be choosy.  So for now, I'm grateful that there is at least one day a year which brings people together in this way.

This time of year also opens the eyes and hearts of people whom sometimes wander through the rest of the 365 days oblivious to the needs of those around us.  It's as if suddenly a magical, golden wand showers the night sky with kindness and mankind wakes from its' slumber with thoughts of goodwill towards one another.  Groups of people donate their time and energy to ensure that others less fortunate have warm meals and shelter on cold, winter nights.  Children, who would otherwise not have holiday gifts, are treated with donations from strangers.  And finally, random acts of kindness abound; passers-by helping broken down motorists, young people offering up their bus seats to seniors or pregnant women, or busy holiday shoppers taking a moment to say hello to a fellow shoppers as they go about their business.

Yes, there are some things I hate, oops - abhor, about the season but I believe there are more positives than negatives - more good than bad.  I know in my heart that the magical wand wouldn't allow for it to be otherwise, not when I look up at the brilliant night sky and see the multitude of stars shining down upon us.  After all, there is an ancient story about one star which inspired three men to do a great deed around this same time thousands of years ago.  Kindness, goodwill towards men...a little magic dust travels a long way and continues over the millenniums. 

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