As the story goes, a baby was born, the mother was Mary, and the father was Joseph. Although for some it seems, Mary was a virgin, and Joseph was not the biological father, God was. As the story continues, this baby boy was named Jesus, another word for Messiah. The Messiah is a leader of a group of people who need to be saved. History (through the Bible) creates a moving story of this baby through manhood who was a carpenter by trade as well as a first-century Jewish preacher and religious leader. However, upon his death, the Christians took them for their own.
Today, Christmas Day, Christians celebrate/commemorate the birth of Jesus by gifting to others as the Three Wise Men (Kings), presented presents to Mother Mary. Gold was provided as a symbol of kingship/leadership on earth. The incense, frankincense, symbolized deity, and myrrh an embalming oil signified death. These gifts exemplify the life that Jesus was destined for.
Today, many celebrate Christmas as a day of gifting that is more about receiving than giving. It is not that we do not have kindness in our hearts and provide for the less fortunate, but many ask the hollow question what is
in it for me?
As many will sit around their living room’s early in the morning, around a tree glowing with lights and shiny objects, they will be impatient to find out if the biggest or the smallest gift-wrapped box is for them and will it be the item from their long list of wants, not needs? In some homes, there will be looks of disappointment, in others satisfaction or ecstatic joy!
In our blended religion family, today is a day of caring and remembering each other. Often our gifts are not expensive surprises, but the acknowledgment of want and need combined. We typically spend the day alone, no big family gathering quietly in most respects. Sometimes we take in a movie, and other years we nap the day away, exhausted from work and other obligations. Our home is not a Norman Rockwell painting of what the holidays are supposed to look like, ours looks like the reality of the moment.
The reality of the moment sounds mysterious, but it is all about accepting who we are as individuals and not placing expectations in our way that may ultimately turn a Good Day into a Bad Day. I have been known to do just that over the years. I would listen to the PR hype and the comments, of co-workers, friends, and family and expect that today would be a “Hallmark Movie” day, when often it would turn out more like a “Twilight Zone” episode.
December 2016, after losing my mother two months earlier, and accepting the fact that I was no longer a child, I chose to enjoy life with all its ups and downs, and to stop assuming my day, Christmas or any other should be a certain way! Growing up we did not celebrate, being Jewish as we are, but we would enjoy the day in some small way, maybe even extending Chanukah beyond the traditional eight days and nights. Perfection is only a mindset, and sometimes I would dream about a repeat performance, and other times I could not wait for a redo. However, each day is a new day and unique from another. I am working on making each day bright and festive, not just for myself but for others, with a smile, a nod, words of acceptance, and a spirit of friendship and love that begins with self.
It is not selfish to take care of yourself when you share yourself with others, freely and willing!
May you enjoy your Christmas, December 25th, 2018 (and beyond) without expectations as you share your spirit to be felt by another.
The reality is we need a newer photo