Archive for December, 2010

The Real Meaning of Christmas

December 24, 2010

Today, Christmas eve, I contemplate the coming day, so eagerly anticipated by all. Leith and I no longer exchange gifts on this day, as we grew tired of getting caught up in the panic to buy something that the other may or may not need. We agreed instead to simply gather in the moment and enjoy the day relaxing together. This year, we will enjoy it with our dear friend, Anne and Leith’s mother, Phyllis.

Not so many years ago, I read an article from a source I no longer remember, presenting the premise that we shouldn’t reserve our typical Christmas cheer and goodwill towards all for just one day of the year. That article struck so true I decided to do my best to live up to its premise. I can’t say I’ve been perfect, but imperfection is no reason for abandoning the effort. In fact, each year I get better and better at it.

I live a busy life, with many demands on my time, so spending hours tending to the needy isn’t always possible for me. However, who says you have to only be generous with the needy? We’ve all learned, or should have, while growing up, that generosity isn’t just about money. I try to give an extra effort for everyone I meet, giving them what I can in time, knowledge, or gifts, as the need presents itself.

Another key thing I’ve learned is that everyone sees things from a different perspective. Thinking in this way makes me stop before criticizing someone for what I think is the “wrong way” of doing or thinking about something. More often than not, I find myself learning a new way to see my world.

One example is that I am not religious. Despite my dear mother’s best efforts, the “rational” of religious thinking never took hold of me. During my college years, I rebelled against my mother’s constant pressure to join her church and became quite anti-religious. If someone mentioned God or Jesus in a sentence, my mind immediately shut off. Using my new way of thinking, I eventually realized that not everything religious is wrong. I no longer feel the urge to criticize or belittle those who find solace in their religious beliefs. I’m still not religious, but I now look for the good in those who are. It’s not hard, once you open your eyes.

I think “give peace a chance” is the real theme of Christmas, and I do it best by opening my mind to other’s ideas, and trying to give as generously as I can to everyone I meet. My life is better for it.

Merry Christmas,

Clifford M. Scovell
Prison Earth – the series.