Or was it?
Something that’s always bothered me about the holidays is — no, not the materialism (although that’s part of it) — the focus on self. When I was a copy writer in Chattanooga, I wrote countless articles on depression around the holidays. The media paints Christmas and New Years out to be such a wonderful time of year, but what if it isn’t? What if you’re single and alone? What if your family lives a long way? What if a loved one just died, or money is really, really tight? It’s a well-known fact that shop-lifting rates go up around the holidays.
Around my home, Christmas cards from friends always come rolling in around the holidays. Pictures with smiling faces and new babies and fall colors and fancy scarves beam from the refrigerator door. Sayings like “Blessed!” and “Wishing you and yours happiness throughout the holidays and the coming year” jump out at innocent passersby . . . And, as I look at these clean, painted faces, I wonder: Do they even know? Do they know how blessed they really are? Really?
While living in Taiwan, I had no washer or dryer. My hot water ran out every two weeks during the winter. There was no air-conditioning or heating — or insulation, for that matter. I visited countries where children played barefoot in the dirt and bathed in muddy water. School was optional; begging was not . . . It was only then that I began to see what “blessed” really meant. I am still thankful every time I turn on a faucet and am greeted with clear, clean water.
But it was there, too, that I discovered that it wasn’t the material things or physical comforts that made life blessed. It was . . . everything else. We hear stories all the time of the miserable millionaire and merry Tiny Tim‘s around the globe. But do we believe them? The mad rush at malls around the globe every December tells me, “No!”
If we are to be truly blessed, it won’t be because of material things or perfect preschoolers or fancy shoes or relaxing vacations. Blessings start from within and transpire when we begin to look out. The first Christmas card I see of a poor family serving food at a soup kitchen will tell me: That family knows what it means to be “Blessed.”
Images: Mine and Google (All rights reserved)
- the luckiest girl in the world
- alone in an igloo
- the true meaning of the holidays
- let us trust (or, happy new year!)