“Tis the season to be jolly”. . .

“Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly, Fa la la la la, la la, la, la! For it is indeed the season to be jolly as we again arrive at Christmas, the favorite universal holiday!

Regardless of one’s religious convictions (or lack of) this long midwinter holiday is most widely celebrated through the nation and the world as a time of sharing and caring while uniting family, friends and loved ones, old and new. Yet during this now over commercialized holiday, religious groups continue to draw together all ages with their observances, especially by children, that unite family, friends and associates of all ages–as we were privileged to witness over the past weekend in Salem.

Yet the priorities of many easily become out of context through over commercialization of the season, placing more emphasis upon its mercenary aspects than on “the real reason for the season-–God’s Gift to the world of the Christ Child!”

Mercenary gifts soon lose both value and appreciation by recipients, regardless of monetary worth. But LOVE is the primary Gift signified by God’s Gift of the Birth of the Christ Child–to be sacrificed upon the cross.

Yet such a happy and joyous season of over commercialization and holiday parties can leave too many lonely lives untouched with deepened sadness. May we become more vigilant of such potential situations within our surroundings and join others in addressing them respectfully rather than condescendingly as “bearing gifts to the poor” while further humiliatingly posting it in public medias.

Such a holiday time can also be especially lonely and/or sad for thousands of military and other personnel who find themselves far from home during this very personal season, as well as for those with close ties with them, or for those who may have lost loved ones since or in other ways associated with this special season. Perhaps it may help to remember that this holiday season has drifted too far from its reality.

Many are aware of the fact that Christ was not born on December 25. This and Sundays were all Pagan holidays on which early Christians placed their observances, eventually eclipsing the others. The mythical Santa Claus is a character developed from an actual person, St Nicholas, who lived some 300 years AD. He was extremely kind and often went out at night distributing gifts to the needy. According to legend he was only a boy when he became a Bishop. His reputation of kindness and gift-giving soon became associated with others as people of all religions (and of no religious persuasion) became captive to holiday gift-giving and unrelated celebrations.

To date, over-commercialization and trivialization of the season brings additional anxiety and depression to increasing numbers of individuals who may be facing unemployment or other threatening uncertainties. Therefore, on this most unique of all holiday seasons, may we vow to demonstrate true thankfulness to God (However we perceive Him) for our innumerable blessings, not by mere words and ritualistic ceremonies but by making our lives a blessing to all with whom we come in contact by becoming true instruments through which God’s Love may flow to others! (Investigate – 1-800-22-UNITE)