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The true meaning

November 22, 2009 - Erin O'Neill
I was looking back on the blog I wrote around this time last year. It wasn't quite Thanksgiving yet but I already had Christmas on the brain.

Not much has changed this year. Although, I am trying very hard to come at things from a different perspective.

Having a young child changes things. I want the experience to be the best for her and something that she can look back on with fond memories. I was looking back on family photos of Christmas over the years since she and my nephew arrived. I can't believe how much they've changed and before long they won't even believe in Santa anymore. The clock is ticking!

I read another blog somewhere about how the "true" meaning of Christmas has been lost on people and everything is too complicated and commercialized. Well that may be true. Halloween things are barely out of the stores when the Christmas stuff comes out. Kids are bombarded on their TV programs with the newest, hottest, best toys of the year. And in their egocentric worlds, there is a lot of "I want."

But the blog, the emphasis of which was clearly that we need to get back to religion, went on to complain about some things which I hold dear -- cookie baking, decorating, wrapping and buying of gifts, light shows. These things are tradition. They mean something to me and my daughter.

I am not a religious person but the "true meaning" is not lost on me. It's what you make of it. For me, family is the most important thing. Also kindness to your fellow man when you're out on Black Friday, throwing a buck in the Salvation Army kettle, taking time out of your hectic day to sit down with your kids and decorate cookies, watching a classic holiday show, sending a Christmas card instead of an e-mail, respecting that not everyone celebrates the yuletide season the same way. These are all ways to show that you put others above yourself.

It isn't about judging others' traditions or telling someone, "you can't possibly get it" or "you're being selfish" by not putting Christ first. The whole Happy Holidays versus Merry Christmas controversy.

Well I do get it. I think I get it more than many people who profess to be Christian. The lesson to be learned from the Christmas story is simple: love your fellow human beings and treat them as you would wish to be treated.

Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Man


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