Christmas spirit always seems to be a buzzword for the Christmas season. It’s used in advertising, everyday conversation, and many a holiday song. But I think that the meaning of this term is often lost or misconstrued, and I want to convey through this post what it means to me. I’m personally guilty of misusing the phrase Christmas spirit— I often use it once I’ve decorated the house, baked a bunch of cookies, wrapped a ton of presents, and am finally feeling suitably excited for the Christmas season. I use it to mean that I’m excited about Christmas, and nothing more; and that’s really nothing close to what the term should mean!
For me, Christmas symbolizes an amazing love and an amazing gift. It’s the day that Jesus the Saviour was born– He loved humanity enough to die for us, and God loved us enough to give His Son as a gift to the world. Here I’ll include a story: around Christmas, I always seem to see homeless people and it bothers me more than it does any other time of the year. I’ve seen an impoverished man within sight of the ostentation of Harrods in London, and just recently I encountered a homeless man and his dog on a concrete boulevard near the American border. I don’t like to see anyone alone and impoverished in a season so richly full of blessings, so I always try to help these people out. The man near Harrods got my change, and the man and his dog got some food from a nearby Tim Hortons. But although I can always help in some way, I never feel like it’s enough. Of course, these people are extremely appreciative and to them even a doughnut or a few dollars seems like a lot– but it’s not going to find them a job or get them warm clothes. I always feel unsatisfied, and I wish that I could do more and make everything better for them.
My dissatisfaction with the injustice and sadness of the world does, however, bring more positive things to light. Even though a few dollars won’t make a huge difference, seeing the gratitude from someone who needs it reminds me of the true spirit of Christmas. Giving gifts at Christmastime has become commonplace, and the idea is great– but what isn’t great is the commercialism and flippancy with which they’re often given. I wonder how many people really need or truly want a hoverboard or Star Wars merchandise; nonetheless, millions of people will receive them because these are the trendy gifts this year. At the heart of Christmas is love, compassion, and generosity; and we should be giving gifts that really mean something, because we really care!
Secondly, feeling dissatisfied and powerless reminds me of the true meaning of Christmas. I can’t do things on my own, but with God’s love and Jesus’s sacrifice I know that I can make a difference. Jesus was born 2,000 years ago so humanity could know God’s love and share in His kingdom, which is full of all the Christmas virtues of joy, goodwill, generosity, and love. It’s because of Jesus’s birth on Christmas that I don’t have to feel powerless, because I know that God’s love makes up for my human failings and inabilities.
At Christmas and throughout the entire year, I take delight in being generous and doing things for other people. The mechanics at my work are pretty spoiled with cookies, coffee, lemonade, and other gifts– one of them has an especial appreciation for the Minions of Despicable Me, and I enjoy finding Minion-themed presents for him. It’s by giving gifts that I show people that I care about them, and I hope that my gestures do make a difference and brighten people’s lives.
This Christmas I’m trying to have true Christmas spirit; by doing meaningful things, maintaining a positive and joyful attitude, and remembering the importance of Christmas. I often get really stressed at Christmas because there is so much to do, but this year I’m striving to be different. I’m still a bit frazzled because I haven’t written all my Christmas cards yet, but other than that I’m doing alright! I’ve realized that I’d much rather do a few wonderful, poignant things for my loved ones than do a bunch of over-the-top gestures just because I feel I should. This year, let’s rejoice in our Christmas spirit and remember the things that truly matter; and I’m sure that everyone will have the happiest and most fulfilling holiday yet!