Now that Thanksgiving is over, it is time to prepare for Christmas. Of course, the retailers across the country began with “Black Friday”, which actually started this year on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day. Whether we agree with that policy or not, we have all come to understand that when an economy has struggled such as this one has, retail stores will do everything they can to turn a profit for the year. For some, it is the make or break season so it makes it difficult to decipher between what is survival and what is greed.
For me, being Catholic, this is the Advent Season which is the religious way for me to prepare for Christmas. It is something that I look forward to with eagerness each year because it serves to center me on Christ’s birth. There were times in my life, however, when I wasn’t so eager to celebrate this event. In fact, I found just about every excuse in the book to justify why I didn’t practice my faith as my parents and schooling had taught me to do. With that in mind, it made it difficult for me to decipher when I had legitimate excuses for staying away from church and when I was being selfish with my time. Yet, when Christmas day arrived, I was into it big time even though there were some Christmas mornings when I felt the emptiness of not having that closeness of Christ in my heart yet instead of going to church, I chose to stay home celebrating.
Whether it is buying gifts and decorations, practicing one’s faith or both, it all comes down to preparation and we each have our own perception as to what and how we prepare. Speaking for myself, I find that my Christmas season takes on much more meaning when I incorporate my faith than those years when I left my religious beliefs aside. But each person has to find his or her way to prepare themselves for Christmas because they may not perceive the holiday as I do.
With that in mind, I have settled into believing that what is most important to me is not just preparing for the season, but to live it as well, that is, in the way I treat others. I sincerely try to do that all year long but especially so at Christmas and have now developed another question for myself: “Why can’t I treat others with the same sincerity, eagerness, willingness and love that I offer so freely at Christmas?”
Oddly enough, I haven’t actually found a reason why I don’t or can’t do just that and have decided that this Advent season would be a good time for me to reflect and to contemplate on that very thing. I know from past experiences, it sounds fantastic on the surface and that putting it into action in my everyday life will be a challenge but I believe that it would not only make my contact with others all the more pleasant for them, it would also give me that joy as well.
Who knows, it is very possible that at some point in time I could touch someone’s heart and they will in turn do the same and it could spread. This is by no means a new concept as it has been something that mankind has strived for since the beginning of civilization but that doesn’t matter because this is my life; my time; my chance to make my life and those with whom I come in contact with a little bit better by the way I treat them.
So it all boils down to how I perceive the way in which I will prepare my heart for the upcoming Christmas Season and what I will bring with me when I celebrate Christ’s birth on Christmas morning.Chelle Munroe©
December 6, 2013