And so it begins.
Being a fan of Google, I decided to see what it had to say about this whole gift giving thing which drives me CRAZY. Here’s what I found: One of the main reasons we have the custom of giving and receiving presents at Christmas, is to remind us of the presents given to Jesus by the Wise Men: Frankincense, Gold and Myrrh. Frankincense was a perfume used in Jewish worship and, as a gift, it showed that people would worship Jesus.
That seems fairly straightforward.
So what has happened to the Christmas holiday? When did it become about new flat screen televisions, new computers, $100 gift cards, etc.? Why are we expected to send gifts to people that we never see or hear from?
Why do children receive gifts from people they never see or hear from throughout the year?
At what point does giving end and gluttony begin?
It seems the focus of the holidays is on the gifts received, not the real point of Christmas: Jesus.
Maybe I sound like a Scrooge. I want to assure you that my stance is not about the money. Perhaps it’s about the expectation of something magnificent and amazing being tucked under the tree or hidden in a corner.
Personally, I love the idea of “giving” throughout the year. When I receive a card from one of my fans or friends, that is an amazing gift! When my parents spend time with me and Marc, that’s far more meaningful to me than anything else. What gift could replace the relationship I have with my parents?
I want my children to learn that being together and making time for each other is more important than anything else. They don’t need electronics or clothing, perfume or gift cards. Those things are not truly reflective of the gift of Jesus and he is the reason for Christmas.
Last December, I published a small book called Plain & Simple Traditions: Amish & Mennonite Holidays. I wrote the following passage and I wanted to share it with you:
To give without expecting anything in return.
To show kindness even when there is no chance of gratitude.
To show gratitude whenever there is a hint of kindness.
To speak with a soft tongue and considerate heart so other people are not injured by harsh or selfish words.
To refrain from retaliating when people speak in a cruel and heartless manner.
To use the word “you” more than the word “I.”
If I can “gift” this very “selfish” wish to my children, whether they believe it or not, it will be the best Christmas ever!