Thoughts About Christmas:
I just have one thing to say about the secular celebration of Christmas...
it has nothing to do with the birth of Christ.
When me and the kids were too poor to pay attention to the secular part of
Christmas we would celebrate in a way that Jesus could have related to...
eating pita bread, feta cheese, dried dates, smoked fish, black olives,
and drinking grape juice. We would watch Biblical movies and eat food that
Jesus might have eaten and talked about His teachings.
Consumerism is not God. It often leads us to break the 10th Commandment of
not coveting thy neighbor's goods.
Many years other folks felt sorry for us, but we were very peaceful in
observing Christmas by remembering that it has nothing to do with Rudolph
the red nose reindeer, (which the Montgomery Ward or Sears made up for
their holiday catalogue), Santa and the elves and the yule log and the
tree with lights and all that are left overs from pre-Christian times and
got absorbed by the Christians. Christmas is celebrated on the Winter
Solistice because it was an effort to pre-empt the Pagan Celebrations.
Some folks feel that Jesus was born in Feburary, making him an Aquarius,
which makes sense to me astrologically for He was a humanitarian and
embodied ideals to live by.
Don't let the consumerism that is common in the developed world culture to
take over your holidays and stress you when you're tight for funds.
There's some of us who never had money for Christmas and made popcorn
strands for a pine branch scav'd from the local park. One year, a particularly
spare year, the boys and I folded origami animals and strung
them from the ceiling IN A TREE SHAPE, the year of the invisible Christmas
tree, we laughed then and we laugh now about it because it was such a
silly thing. We had FUN in spite of making do with what we had on hand.
String cranberries and create an invisible tree. Have the family make
things together and make it a "home made" Christmas like they
did in the olden days before shopping malls and credit cards.
I was told by a cop that purse snatchings and robberies increase around
the holidays, thieves figuring they can steal what they will give to their
families, it's all skewed cock eyed.
Cultures are made up by people, arbitrary and changeable. We can change how
we look at the holidays if money is a concern. Got flour? Got ginger,
cloves and powdered sugar? Got shortening? Then have the family make a
ginger bread house together. Make a Frank Lloyd Wright Ginger Bread House.
Use creativity which is free to celebrate the holy days.
Can you sew? A flag for each member of the family with their names or
something significant to them like a baseball bat or a ballet tutu, and
have them hang that flag on the door to their bedroom.
Can you get the family to volunteer to help feed the homeless? That's
always a sobering activity when kids are whining about being too poor for
a consumer's Christmas. Taking my boys down to the homeless shelter and
having them serve food to the poor made them appreciate what we did have
at home, no matter how modest.
I want to make a point of reminding all of us that mid Winter celebrations
have always been spiritual ones. If Christmas is to celebrate the birth of
Jesus for the Christians, that celebration can be done with flour dough
figures made into a nativity scene.
It's a matter of adjusting expectations. I told my extended family years
and years ago, don't buy me gifts, don't buy gifts for the boys, for the
holidays because I can't reciprocate and I won't feel excess stress about
not being able to buy something they won't like, can't appreciate and
didn't want in the first place. My family gives gifts with the price tag
and receipt in the box, just in case you want to exchange it the day after
Christmas. That always bothered me. Like showing off how much excess cash
they have. Stop it, don't do this to me.
All I want for the Winter Holidays is to be peaceful, be nice to each
other, share food, do some home crafts that involve the whole family in
the process. There's things we own, books, our wee clay things we make,
that can be gifts to those we love. Can't afford wrapping paper, use the
funny papers or aluminum foil. Only have enough money to buy a small
thing? Then wrap it up in a series of boxes, bigger and bigger and as the
person unwraps the boxes getting down to that last small box, they have to
go through jokes you wrote on each box, or read poems you wrote on each
box. So when they get to that little thing it was an event that was fun.
I like to give art or craft stuff to people, so to encourage them to goof
around with me and learn how to make their gift from me, use those oil
pastels, use those acrylic paints and paper...we have spare stuff like
this laying about, give them as gifts, create an artist.
The pioneers and our founding fathers and mothers didn't have the mall,
didn't have credit cards, but they celebrated the mid Winter holy days
with what they did have on hand. If it is time for the family to realize
that "it's the thought that counts" with a gift then it's time
for them to realize that it's not the amount of money you spent, or how
fancy the new gadget is, or the peer pressure of having the "same
thing as my friends" ...that's not the spirit of Christmas, that's
the spirit of conspicuous consumption, a grave sickness in the developed
If you're Christian it doesn't cost a penny to love Jesus. It shouldn't
cost a penny to celebrate that He was born.
Just some thoughts from your local Muslim