“The only blind person at Christmastime is he who has not Christmas in his heart.” – Helen Keller, author
Eight years old…big blue eyes with the kind of long, thick eyelashes every girl wants… but he was a guy who, of course, wasn’t aware or appreciative of them. At eight there are bigger issues to contend with…like Christmas toys…like was there really a Santa Claus…like does believing in a Santa get you more or less presents? Serious stuff on a cold December shopping day. But his question from the back seat, as we parked the car and got out was,
“Gramps…who was Jesus?”
Surprised…but not much because I hang around this guy quite a bit. Truth be told, I was still trying to figure out his last “interesting” question two weeks earlier, “Gramps, why is there no gravity under water?” I won’t even try to explain how I got through that one…the lies we tell kids to protect ourselves!
Buying thinking time…
Anyway…I responded rather nonchalantly, to buy some thinking time,
“Hunter, he was a historical figure some people believe was a god! Why do you ask?”
“Well, people do such a lot of strange stuff around Christmas…all you hear is about Santa or Jesus…I was just wondering what Christmas is really all about?”
“Hun, I think Christmas is all about celebrating and each person celebrates in their own special way!” I said with a philosophical air. Then I added, “We are all celebrating the same thing but I think we give it different words and rituals based on our past.”
“How do you mean Gramps?” he asked.
“From what I have noticed over the years, regardless of the religion, culture, time or place every individual, family, clan, tribe, community, culture or even country celebrate something and do it regularly. And they usually have their own special names, special reasons and special rituals for their celebration. But they all celebrate the same thing every time.”
“So what are they celebrating then?” Hunter asked with a hint of skepticism.
A tough question…
“Well, let’s use Christmas because you and I are in the middle of it right now. But first, I need to ask you a question…is that OK?”
“Sure!” he said enthusiastically.
“I have to warn you this is a tough question…so are you ready?”
“Yep…fire away!” he said again getting more excited.
“What if you got nothing from Santa this year, not one toy? What if you didn’t get to have a big Christmas dinner or have any special Christmas treats this year?” I asked him.
“For the spirit of Christmas fulfills the greatest hunger of mankind.” – Loring A Schuler
His worst nightmare…
He stared at me in disbelief as if I had just uttered the unimaginable…his worst nightmare.
Then I added, “What if you only got to be with your Mom and Dad and the rest of your family…that was it…nothing more…would that be OK?” I asked him.
There was a long silence while he stared off somewhere thinking deeply with an expression I can only describe as both serious and reflective. Then he said rather carefully,
“Well I guess it would be OK cause at least I’d know my family loved me…and they would probably have good reasons why I got nothin, eh?” He responded, his voice harboring a rekindling enthusiasm probably because he was already thinking about the next Christmas.
“So is it fair to say the love of your parents and family are more important than all the other stuff that happens at Christmas…even the presents and special foods and such?”
“Sure Gramps…of course!” he replied and then added, “But I’d like the other stuff too!”
“Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us, we’re alive and loved, just as we are!”
– King Ayles, author
Every celebration everywhere in the world…
“Well that’s what I think every celebration everywhere in the world is really about…being reminded we are loved! Regardless of the stated reason we celebrate in Canada whether: your birthday, a New Years’ Day, an Easter, a Labor Day, a Canada Day, a Remembrance Day, a Wedding Day, a Valentine’s Day, a Thanksgiving Day or this Christmas Day…they are all just reasons to remind ourselves and each other we are loved by someone somewhere!”
I have learned you can usually depend on kids to verbalize the truth because they have no reason, no vested interest, in distorting it. And so Hunter said,
“Wow…I never thought about it that way before Gramps…it kind of makes you appreciate them differently…to be glad they happen not just for the fun part but also for the feeling loved part, eh?” He said using the words of an 8 year old and the wisdom of an 80 year old.
“So Hunter, getting back to Jesus…can you see how it is OK to believe what ever you want to believe as long as it lets other people believe what they want to believe…so we can all get to feel loved regularly?” I asked.
“Yea, I get it now! So is it OK to believe in Jesus a little bit?” He asked me with a questioning look.
“I think anyone can believe what ever they like as long as it doesn’t prevent someone else from believing what they want. Why I remember a time, not that long ago, when if a kid had an imaginary playmate we thought they were sick. Now we have realized they are just creative children solving problems.”
Being reminded we are loved…
“So Gramps Christmas is really about being reminded we are loved not the other stuff that gets mixed in with it, eh?”
“Makes sense to me Hunter…so I can just return your Christmas gift to the store, eh?” I said with a half smile.
He returned my half with his full smile saying, “You had better not or else….!
“Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance – a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved.” – Augusta E. Rundel
Next time we will look at how your life purpose and Christmas are connected!
POINTS TO PONDER AND REMEMBER are:
1. Every cultural, social, geographical and religious group create events to celebrate.
2. The public image of each celebration is tied to something significant from the group’s past.
3. The underlying reason for every celebration is to remind each person they are valued, loved, appreciated by someone around them at that moment.
4. Christmas is not really a secular or religious holiday, rather it is an important time for people in those places where it is celebrated to stop and appreciate those who appreciate them…to stop and love those who love them.
5. All celebrations are tools to help us motivate ourselves forward toward our future with more gratitude, more certainty and more awareness of being loved.