True Spirit of Christmas

While for so many people this holiday season is about rampant commercialism, keeping up with the Jones’s and rushing to keep up with a hectic schedule, we should all stop and take time to not only appreciate the true meaning of Christmas but also to embrace the true spirit of Christmas.

Emotionally this is a difficult time of year for so many. Depression and anger drive up the rates of suicide and domestic violence. Stress builds upon stress to destroy the holiday cheer of many.

The underlying problem for so many people is that they focus all their energy on what they do not have rather than embracing what they do have — that is what Christmas spirit is all about.

Whether or not you are an ardent Christian, if you live in the Western World then you know that the true meaning of Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Christ. The Christ child is a symbol of love, light, hope and peace that makes this a joyful season for true believers. However, even among the believers, there are some for which this message is not enough to overcome the depression, anger and stress of the season.

That is why it is so important to embrace the true meaning of Christmas. You need to reach down within yourself to find the spirit of Christmas. In order to embrace the true Christmas spirit you must be willing to give. Give of yourself, your time and your love, and give of your worldly possessions. Do not think of the gifts you give to others as an obligation or duty, but think of it as a symbol of your love for them. While no gift can accurately reflect the love we feel for those who are near and dear to us, we can show them that they matter by spending time and thought to create or select a gift with meaning.

Giving, not getting

There’s a lot to love about the holidays: the lights, the concerts, the music, the cookie decorating… and the list goes on. However, are you and or your children too focused on the “gimme” elements of the holiday season?

This season is also an ideal time to instill the spirit of giving in children.

Ways to start instilling the giving spirit

Introduce the idea of giving to others by first acknowledging what your children are already doing. Perhaps they smile to someone on the street, say a friendly word to a friend and send a heartfelt letter or email to a grandparent—discuss how these are all acts of giving. Illustrate how the last time your child cleaned out their own toy box or closet was a way to give to those in need. Spotlight the things your child already do and invite them to look at giving in a new light.

How is giving received?

Often, children will go through the motions of helping others (e.g. volunteering, donating) without fully understanding why they are doing it. Take the time to spotlight how the giving process was received.

We all benefit when children learn to give to others. Charitable involvement has been shown to help raise self-esteem, develop social skills, foster an introduction to the greater world and encourage kids to appreciate their own lifestyle. From donating presents and collecting food, every contribution makes a difference—to your child, to your community and to the world.

Joy to the World the Lord has come.

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