- Politics and Social Issues
Tis the Season to be Honest
Tis the Season to be Honest
By Tony DeLorger © 2011
Christmas is a dichotomy of belief, the intent and reality often opposed by nature. It is a Christian celebration of the birth of a saviour and family sharing gifts on one hand, and loneliness and despair over this season of supposed goodwill, on the other.
Christmas has become a commercial enterprise, an exercise in consumerism. And every year we fall for it; overspending to give gifts that are more about expectation, competition and status than a display of love or appreciation.
In honesty, Christmas is the most stressful time of year for many people. It’s like eating fast food; it tastes good at the time but later you just wished you hadn’t eaten it. Christmas can often leave that bad taste in your mouth, because amid all the stress trying to appease the ‘God of Retail’ and live up to expectations as a provider, we miss the whole point of the celebration, family. Christmas should be about giving, not money but of yourself to those whom we love and appreciate in our lives.
Many people are alone at Christmas, abandoned by family or simply forgotten in old age. Christmas for them is the epitome of their circumstance, to be alone, rejected or forgotten. For them the season of joy is the season of pain. Suicide rates always rise in the Christmas season for that reason.
So apart from the religious purpose of the Christmas season, why do we buy in to this display of rampant spending and opulence, even though we can’t afford it? What happened to goodwill and the spirit of Christmas: well wishing, community gatherings and simply be courteous and friendly to passers-by, as it used to be.
I, like many people, have had a difficult year financially, what with all the downturn in global economies. My spending was trimmed to the line and even then it has been stressful. Over the past month I have had no more than two retail staff wish me Merry Christmas. The crowds are out there doing their thing but there is no spirit in it, no joy of the season or sharing anything.
I fear much of the spirit of the season is lost forever and I can’t see it returning. Even neighbours keep to themselves these days and community spirit has declined. Fear rules the streets and people are suspicious of everyone, even those in trouble or living lives of poverty.
Whether you are a Christian or not, Christmas should be about sharing with one another, taking the time to reach out to those who need help, offering a hand of kindness and compassion and celebrating the fact that we have life at all.
For those of us with loving families, make sure they know they are loved and appreciated. For those who are alone, I pray there is kindness around you and that we can all share Christmas as fellow human beings. The greatest gift is love and no amount of money can equal that.