Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!!!

Not that I forgot in my other post . . . I just wanted to make sure this message got all the special attention it deserves.

My readership may, for all I know, consist of many faiths, and some who subscribe to no faith at all. As you may or may not know, I am a Christian. Today, along with Easter, is one of the most important holidays in the Christian faith. The life of Christ on Earth began with His humble birth (which we celebrate today but which actually took place at some other time of year, about four years off from when the calendars got the old jump start) and "ended" with His suffering and crucifixion at Easter.

For me, these holidays are not simply an excuse to send cards or give and receive presents. This is a good thing, too, as I am too lazy and cheap to do Christmas cards, and my kids are lucky to get a few gifts at Christmas. We don't DO Easter presents. Finances simply don't permit, and if I didn't get them as a kid, why should MY kids, right?

Enough of that. I sincerely hope that all who look to Him find peace and joy this holiday season. And of course, many will go without today and tomorrow, and all of next week. Or perhaps they received a coat or a toy for their child for Christmas, but don't feel that kindness from strangers the rest of the year. Many live right here among us who wonder where their next meal or resting place will come from, and they rely only on charity for their sustenance. And this in what is fabled to be the richest country in the world.

If you believe in Him, if you look to Him as your source of strength, courage, and hope, please do more than just celebrate His birth to the fullest your bank accounts will allow. Instead of maxing out your credit cards on gifts and turning up the holiday lights all over your house and yard, see if you can't find a way to instead tuck away a little bit each month to donate to a needy family, charity, or even a relative or friend you know to be struggling. As an educator, I can promise you that your kids are better off receiving a few modest gifts each year while bearing witness to your kindness to those in need. Spoiled kids become adults who don't know how to leave the nest and don't know how to fend for themselves in the real world.

But children who grow up understanding what it is to wish for something, and to have that wish delayed or perhaps even worked toward, become adults who appreciate the little things in life.

My parents worked all year to set aside fifty dollars per child (there were four of us) to spend on Christmas presents. We knew the limit, and we were involved in choosing our gifts. Knowing we could not have it all made us appreciate what we had. And then, when I went through some very lean times as an adult, I was not too proud or spoiled to work weekends at a second job after teaching all week so that I could pay the rent AND buy food.

But this is not about me. So many are so much worse off than I am, in our country alone, nevermind the rest of the planet. Please do all you can to honor Christ's message and purpose every day, not just on the holiday we use to celebrate His birth.

Good night and God Bless,
D.M. (the O.G.)

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