The key to Christmas is not gifts; it is pausing for a moment of reflection. It is about being aware of the spirit and grace of God. Too often, we become so preoccupied by the ritual of gift giving that we do not have time to truly appreciate the spirit of Christmas. Perhaps we are so busy rushing to different holiday events that we neglect to even consider the truly meaningful things in our own lives.
In today’s society so much emphasis is placed on materialism and financial status. There are those in this world who seek to define themselves by these artificial standards and yet, as they acquire these material goods, their souls become more restless and unfulfilled because they have set their sights on nothing else. Consequently, they lack an absolute moral point of reference to help discern between right and wrong. Without this foundation, they merely live from whim to whim, finding enjoyment only in moments of fleeting beauty.
When tragedy and hardship strike, these individuals are forced to ask the same question: If you place your passion in beauty - what happens when beauty vanishes? If you spin your life around objects - what happens when these objects crumble? If you place your faith in a loved one - what happens when that loved one dies? It is only when we place our love in God that we create for ourselves an immutable foundation. It is this absolute moral reference point that allows us to move beyond the material trappings of society and follow the path toward authentic discovery.
Many feel they have no need to attend any form of worship service or do not realize their own restless longing for something more meaningful and significant in their lives. It is in church that we realize we are no more important than our poorest brothers and sisters in the eyes of our Creator. For He does not judge us upon our status in society or the stocks we own, but upon the goodness of our spirit.
This holiday season, we must realize that our Creator has indeed blessed us by giving us one another. We must strive to be our brothers’ keeper and remind everyone that the greatest power we have is to touch and care for the human spirit. We sometimes forget this power and fail to share what we have with one another through word, prayer, and deed. Sometimes, this giving can take the form of a simple, kind word on the street to brighten a stranger’s day or by serving Christmas Eve dinner at your local homeless shelter or nursing home.
Our actions also serve us in reverse. We realize that in the process of giving, we have received more than money can buy. When we give of our material wealth that we have spent so much energy acquiring, we realize that these are just things to be gained and given without worry that we have lost something of ourselves. We can replace a car or a house, but a human life is priceless. In this life, we can only lose ourselves, and paradoxically so, when we try to gain the material things of this world. When will we wake up to the reality that all we truly possess and all we truly need is love and compassion for one another?