The True Meaning of Christmas
Before we get too deep into the holiday season, I wanted to get up on my soapbox and address something that has deeply troubled me (and perhaps you too).
I'm always blown away by how many families see Christmas as a solitary time of year to express affection for those who have special importance by trying to manifest their love in the form of presents. The more presents you give, the more you spend, the more you must love someone.
I was born and raised a Catholic and I still am, so without delving into too much of the religious-side of Christmas - one in which a massive percentage of public ignores completely - I am here to remind everyone of that simple, yet true, quote from Edna Ferber:
"Christmas is not a season. It is a feeling."
And that feeling is "love." Plain and simple. Love should be at the forefront of our minds as we close one year and open another one. It's a season where we should feel love for our fellow human beings, our families, our friends, and all those whom society has overlooked or rejected. If you really think about it, Christmas is all about love when you consider Christ God's gift to the world through love:
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
My reason for writing this piece today stems from this extremely powerful commerical out of Germany from Edeka - a well-known grocery chain. German commercials rarely make it to the US, but this one has over 34 million views on YouTube since it was posted on November 28th.
This is one of the few commercials that genuinely made me cry. As you'll see, it's an elderly man living alone, whose three adult children call him every Christmas to say they are too busy to make it home to see him but they "promise they will soon." Years go by and the man spends all of his Christmases alone. He then gets the idea to send an announcement to his children that he has died and they are invited to a service to commemorate his life. The children are deeply saddened and all drop what they're doing, all over the world, to fly home to pay their respects to their father. All are surprised when they arrive at his home with the table set, food prepared, candles lit, and their father is actually alive and waiting for them.
He simply says, "How else could I have brought you all together?"
Right after Thanksgiving this year I very unexpectedly lost a dear friend of mine, and my heart aches every day for his wife, his children, and his grandchildren. It truly puts things in perspective. Christmas is a reminder for us to be with those we love while they are still here, and hopefully the "feeling" lasts enough to inspire us to be with them throughout the years.
This Christmas, I want you to give love to everyone who needs it. Tell your family how much you love them, in person if you can, and do it every day.
You never know when God will call them home, and it will be too late.