Christmas is an interesting holiday when your parents and gone, relatives are flung all over the nation, and you have no kids. I decorate less and less as each year passes and my Christmas letters get sent in January. Spiritually, Christmas has nothing to do with who you are. Who you are every day says who you are, not whether or not you put a tree up, exchange gifts, or put lights all over your house.
But there is still a glimmer of the child in me and I remember clearly how wonderful it felt to be around my loving grandparents during the holidays. Yes, the presents were great, what stays with me for all these years is the sharing and laughing. The magical lights and reflective ornaments on the tree and angel hair on the mantle of the fireplace were wonderful, and I loved them. It all contributed to the magic of the season as a child.
There has been much discussion about whether or not one should call a tree a Christmas tree or a holiday tree, and should we say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays. I think people get too tied to their beliefs and can't rationally see beyond them. Wouldn't it be better if those negative attitudes were converted to more loving attitudes towards everyone instead? When did a Christmas tree have anything to do with Jesus? There are Christian churches which actually shun such activities - like putting up a tree - as they really are based on pagan practices and have nothing to do with Christ. My grandfather, when he was growing up in the late 1800s, would tell of their Christmases. Even though their family was well-to-do, they did not have a tree, but they hung a stocking for each child on the fireplace. They would get something small like fruit in their stockings. Imagine how that would go over now!
Nick and I haven't actually shunned the practice of gift giving, and we still might get a tree. My sister is coming after Christmas and it would definitely add to the festivities. For gifts Nick and I bought ourselves some things the house needed and are calling those our Christmas gifts to each other. When I tell people that, some get so sad, like we are really missing out on something, like it's almost sacreligious to say we won't be exchanging gifts or getting a tree, but we're doing what fits for our lives.
Who needs a lot more stuff - we certainly don't, and my hope is that I will use Christmas to reflect on acceptance and forgiveness of myself and others in my everyday life, and being thankful for so much along with where I am now, and the path I'm on. Even though Christmas isn't on the actual day or month Christ was born, it never-the-less can be used to look reflectively into the quality of our lives. With or without lights, a tree, and Christmas kitch my hope is to find the true Peace at Christmas that I can take with me into every day.