Would Christmas Be Better Without the Gifts?

         Dear Theologian Cafe: I was one of those children on Christmas morning who woke up to the absolute dread of waking up to the blessing of, “No gifts,” on Christmas morning, and I find little character building from the realization of our poverty.

Those of us of Judeo Christian origin are reminded that the Gospels do not even speak of the birth of the Christ without knowing that gifts were a part of the Christmas which some like to think of as the essence of Christian’ s  leap of faith that something miraculous happened more than 2000 years ago, and we accept the pleasure of the tale of Kings bearing gifts, for they had watched the heaves and waited for the signs of a Christ Child — God as man to be born.  I do not consider the people at the time to be unlearned, quite to the contrary, that for around what would be heading toward six thousand years before — That ancient scrolls had told beautifully that a Christ would come among us as man, and they had no distraction from studying the astrology, and what so many wish to believe was a case of full blown mythology, began to record what man could expect in the known world at the time.

Can you imagine how, in that known world, when all the signs and visions began to come to fruition what joy these people of their tribes, their time, and the known world must have felt;  When everything came together in the heavens and on earth and the  exquisite persona of Mary had been asked would she bring forth God as man, and let him fullfill all of the ancient prophecy which they had been waiting for in the Jewish world for what is now heading into the 6000 year mark of such prophecy.  The scholars at the time from area to area continued to move from The Old Testament and on in to the new where we still have much prophecy before us.  It is with full heart in which we allow ourselves to be drawn in to the experience of Christmas year after year, and many Protestant groups do not even accept the Old Testament as anything but the preparation for what was to come.

Why would people not want to give gifts to one another and celebrate these days of Advent and then Christmas; For it takes us out of ourselves in to the joy of celebrating something so much bigger than us.  Prophecy is still considered to be a gift, but we cannot close out the noise of daily life to hear anything which is whispered to us.  I ache at the noise which closes out love and caring for one another.  Here we are though still watching, still waiting, and some of us are fully convinced that something  which has lasted over all of these years we can feel excited that, “A Spiritual King was born,” and part of the celebration includes the giving of gifts.  Unless we are diabled, even the poorest among us are capable of giving even if it is nothing but a love letter under the Christmas tree or on the days of Hannukah.  The generous heart seeks out to give as such those who have nothing will have something, and I wish that my parents could have understood that the smallest gifts meant so very much.

My Dad could whittle for pleasure, could build our furniture when we had none, but come Christmas my dear parents always went on a depression spree, and instead of something Dad could have made for us like a little box or a doll, or our mother making a sock monkey, they usually wound up bursting at the seams and in a dangerous battle threatening to kill each other.  My Mom ould tell us she was thinking about poisoning our father’s coffee after my sisters and older brothers had gone on, and Mom would pounce, and the next thing we knew this strong man was beating her.

I used to get excited when Dad had got some pencils and pens from a feed store, and in later years we were never without apples and oranges once Dad brought in a pay check.  Straight through my high school years though; they would get gifts from the older kids mailed home, but my chest would hurt endeavoring to hold in that no one would remember me.  We were a broken family, and I was dead in the center of their later, “Bunch,” as we were called, so I swore that when I made it the long way from them; I would do what they could not do for themselves and the elder children felt too financially fearful of losing what they had gained, so the end result is that I sit ordering gifts for everyone, for the joy of giving has not fully made its way into some of my siblings  hearts;  So good darned old privileged me.  “Christmas is just for kids”,and the abiding;; “Christmas is just for the kids!”

It happens to some within my own family, that some do overspend, and you are so right;  Then people are in debt.  I wish they just understood that dollar store goods are just fine, and if anyone does not appreciate the gifts lovingly purchased for them at  Ts he Dollar General Store, then they are losing the idea of gifts in this beautiful season, that to be though of is sheer love.  Turn off the bloody TV, and let children get excited about a little car and truck, a little stuffed animal, and maybe even a new toothbrush.  It is absolutely stupid to charge up credit cards and to put yourself in debt.  In her later years, my mom wanted always to buy me something, and the last thing which I remember is a coffee mug which cost her fifty cents, and to this day that coffee mug is among my most precious gifts. I picked it out, and Mama bought it for me.  That was all it took to give a gift which made me very happy.

Charging up gifts which you cannot pay for is hurtful to every family member, but it is most hurtful to the children who have to watch depressed parents coping poorly through the winter trying to make sense of why Mom and Dad are not happy.  I seriously believe there should be serious public servie announcements to help people understand they are doing no one any favor by purchasing what they cannot pay off.  Why is it that grown ups no longer are able to realize that their burden is everyone’s burden.  I mean it when I say that I am happy to get pictures of grand children, and that is present enough.  Here is where you beg the parents to know that using imagination and siting down and playing with their children with the toys they already have and have forgotten is means far more than spending on credit cards.

Gifts have a great effect on the national economy, for we need those who can buy to do exactly that, for it is the beautiful stores golden weaks where they are making money to tide them over through the year.  Even if you have no religious fervor, if you have money; Please get out there and spend, spend, spend, for the merchants need the cash to keep people in jobs.  I strongly am impressed with an American toy company called, “Melissa and Doug,” and looking at things such as gifts from artist, and the, ever so faithful beloved food sources and bakeries; Oh Lord, plese may the 250,000 dollar club buy so many darned presents that they colapse the internets computers with disbelief.

My husband is the ultimate unappreciative person when it comes to gifts, and on Christmas day, he packs all of his gifts in one  bag except for maybe a shirt or something he asked for, and he pouts and frets over other people’s spending.  He was a priviileged little boy though, so what we cannot do for him is to bring back his Christmas years of old when he was the center of attention.  One day, somtime, I will go in and get his Christmas bag and put the food in cupboards, and I will see what he might like to use after he is long past Holidays, and that in itself is a hurtful bunch of abuse which I have never shared with my children.  I do not share a lot over the Christmas Holidays, for it is difficult enough to keep the demons down who try to summon me to the table of remembrance which I put away as best that I can.

So; Good Theologian; you get it! Christmas is sometimes hard, but those of us who had not greatly appreciate that someone remembered us; And Happy Holidays to the agnostics; But to all of you who still can view shepards and astronomers transfixed on a star which led them to the place where Jesus was born, then may you enjoy packages, for life goes quickly by us, and we can join the ancients in Celebration.

 So, “Merry Christmas to one and all,” but first enjoy Thanksgiving, among the lovliest of all days when we  must savor our journey to Christmas.  and in to the New Year when there is a chance — Just a chance that it may be the best year of our lives.  I am leaving a gift for you Mr. Theologian.

Blessings, Barbara Everett Heintz, “{Pinkhoneysuckle” Award Winner in San Francisco and Hollywood Book Festivals — With a First Prize Award in Hollywood’s 2012 Book Festival — Amazon Book and Kindle Ready.

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