Why Change Is Needed In Holiday Seasons & Traditions
Beautifully Extravagant Light Display
Why We Sing
Every year when the holidays roll around, I'm hoping for a change. I love the all the beautiful decor, the festive lights, the seemingly happy spirit, but I question the bustle of it all. I question the traditions.
Why are most people so happy around the holidays? Certainly, it's not because the majority know or recognize the reason for the season. Most want to separate or subtract Christ out of Christmas; the end result of which would be "mas." And that's what it seems to be all about...mas...more.
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Why Are Praises Sung To The King?
Holiday Heart Warmer Fireplace
For years, my mom did the whole holiday routine; the decor in the house, the Christmas music; having us dress nice for the day, especially if we were having guests. Every year, we had the traditional dinner accompanied by the traditional fussing over perfection and demands for everyone to come to the table when beckoned.
As we got older and were more independent, the fussing became about me, as the only female sibling, helping her more, and the family arriving on time. I remember many years of being the first to arrive (on time) and the one to bear the brunt of her frustration if things weren't perfect, or relatives didn't arrive on time (the relatives were on Jamaican time; my brother's family was on Mexican time).
I remember being frustrated over the fact that she would get so upset, and I'd always tell her to just start dinner without the late people, so they'd learn to respect the time given for dinner to start. Having a cold holiday dinner would, in my mind, give them reason to be more disciplined and arrive on time.
She never did this though. She simply yelled and carried on, demanding that I call those who were late to find out why they were late, and to subsequently fuss about it without taking any of the actions (above) to remedy the problem.
So this fussing was one tradition in my family. As I matured, I soon noticed another which I have wanted changed for years. This is the tradition among most American families, that they MUST purchase Christmas gifts for each other.
My Precious Son
This tradition is bothersome to me for several reasons. Chief among them now, is that in this time of economic strain, people are still thinking this way. Some people can barely pay the bills, or are losing homes, yet they are still attempting to honor this tradition. They feel like they must, as if it is the last boundary and vestige of maintaining their identity.
They don't recognize the reality that who we are is not dictated by our circumstances, but by how we handle them. Additionally, people in this country are so accustomed to "living large," that they actually become depressed if they cannot showboat like that any longer.
Instead of appreciating the important things, like just the privilege of being able to put healthy food on your table, and of just being together with family or friends, they get obsessed with things.
Imagine the mothers of the children in the video below. I told my son yesterday, that I cannot imagine the agony of those mothers, knowing that they have nothing to feed their children; knowing that they are dying. Imagine watching the child you strained to give birth to, crying all day because of the aching in an empty, bloated belly; and you can do nothing to comfort it. How frustrating and depressing that must be.
I told my son yesterday, Christmas day, that if I ever faced something like that, and lost him like that when he was a babe, I think I would have gone absolutely out of my mind. I would have gone to the ends of the earth to find something to feed him if I had the strength, but these mothers are diseased and starving themselves.
They give in to despair, and suffer even more than their own starvation and disease by having to watch their children starve, get disease and die. Imagine if we took the hundreds of dollars we spend a year on Christmas gifts for our healthy, well-fed families and reached out to these mothers and their children...what an amazing difference we could make. What an honor to have the privilege of being able to use what God has blessed us with, to help and be a blessing to someone else in need.
People In Need
I understand wanting to make the holiday special to our children, but what about these children? They don't care about extravagant game systems to try to impress friends and keep up with the Joneses. They don't complain about being bored, when they have nothing to do all day but starve and die. They don't get the indulgences that people in this country shamelessly shower upon their kids, spoiling them rotten, but they don't complain.
All these kids want is a chance to live...to eat...to be healthy. That should be a right automatically endowed to every child. However, while certain people and groups think the playing field should not be leveled; while certain groups lobby and fight for the right to keep all their money and "stuff;" other less fortunate people are fighting for the chance just to live.
Can anyone, by comparison, say or believe that those with more should have more of a right to life? Isn't enough that they can afford to live at a standard that supersedes world standards for wealth?
Is This Really A Necessity?
People In Poverty
I was once told by an organization that helped to pay my light bill, that I qualified for the assistance because my financial level due to unemployment was at 150% below the poverty level in the US. At the time, I balked at the idea that not only was I poor, but I was 150% below the standard for being poor!
I couldn't even imagine having that label because I still had a stable roof over my head that was paid for, with centralized ac and heat. I had clean running water and electricity. I had a car with gas and insurance for it. I had food on my table, and more than enough the majority of the time. And, I was still able to afford items for personal care and supplication.
I mean, we were fine. We had clothes, shoes...all the basic necessities, yet they were telling me that I was below the poverty level. I couldn't comprehend it, and I laughed when I saw that letter.
Imagine that even at what the US deems to be 150% below the poverty level, I was still wealthy by world standards! Almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day. I can buy a double chocolate chip brownie or a cup of coffee at Starbucks for this price! A treat! An indulgence! Even being at 150% below poverty by this country's standards, I can still do that!
At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day. This would barely pay just one bill for the month...electric! Yet these people live on this! It is unimaginable!
World Poverty Levels
An End To Selfishness
Is it possible for people who purport themselves as being from the "greatest country in the world," to rise above their own greed, which is the pivotal factor in the coming implosion of this country; and truly reach out to help others?
It is my preference, and it has been for several years now, to stop training our kids to receive for the holidays, and train them to give. I'd love it if a new tradition could be started, and all it takes is the man in the mirror to make a stand.
At the very least, the adults, in lieu of weaning the kids off the merchandise machine; could funnel the monies they spend on gifts for each other into world charity organizations that are reaching out to feed, clothe, and enhance the health of people around the world who are struggling to survive. This is what I'd love to do, but oftentimes feel trapped by my family's expectations of gifts for the holidays. This is also what Christ calls us to do, and most certainly would put His name back in the holiday that is supposed to celebrate His birth. My prayer...is that it starts in my family first. Peace and blessings to all.