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Christmas Joys Or Christmas Woes?

Perhaps it’s the tacky Christmas ornaments  in the stores or the ridiculously awkward holiday photographs you get in the mail. Or perhaps it’s an article telling you how to avoid the holiday bloat?  It could also be the mad rush to make sure the Christmas card list is up to date and then writing and mailing them.  Or perhaps it’s the pressure of the  shopping. All of these can certainly be a warning that Christmas is coming – brace yourself!!


I’m wondering when we started to see Christmas as a time that we almost dread? When did we start to keep the form of Christmas and forget its essence? In India, I’ve watched the traditional homemade sweets turn into store bought ones. I’ve watched the real Christmas trees turn to plastic. I’ve watched the much longed for extended family celebrations turn into something we attend because we have to. Sadly, I’ve watched the gifts that were meant to be tokens of love, handmade or saved up for, become thoughtless stuff you buy online on credit.
Last minute shopping and card mailing today
Christmas has turned plastic?

Personally, I’ve opted out of it all – the sweets, the shopping, the gift-giving, the decorations. It’s a special home-cooked meal for the two of us that spells Christmas in our home.

For me, the joy of Christmas is the sense of anticipation I experience. Coming as Christmas does so close to the New Year, I love to use this time to reflect on the year that has been – its blessings and lessons. I enjoy the feeling of knowing that I’m getting another chance to work on myself in the year ahead.

My uncle, a Catholic priest, shared this with me many years ago:
Sharon’s Christmas Prayer
(by John Shea, The Hour of the Unexpected, Allan, Texas, Argus Communications, 1977)
christmas joy_1_1
She was five,
sure of the facts,
and recited them
with slow solemnity
convinced every word
was revelation.

She said
they were so poor
they had only peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
to eat
and they went a long way from home
without getting lost. The lady rode
a donkey, the man walked, and the baby
was inside the lady.

They had to stay in a stable
with an ox and an ass (hee-hee)
but the Three Rich Men found them
because a star lited the roof
Shepherds came and you could
pet the sheep but not feed them.
Then the baby was borned.
And do you know who he was?

Her quarter eyes inflated
to silver dollars,
The baby was God.

And she jumped in the air
whirled round, dove into the sofa
and buried her head under the cushion
which is the only proper response
to the Good News of the Incarnation.

Yes, for me, the real joy of Christmas is  reflecting on its true meaning – the knowledge of God-with-us – Emmanuel.

What does Christmas mean to you?

Today I’m the host for the Thursday Blog Hop at The Writer’s Post. Do write a post on the topic of ‘Christmas Joys or Christmas Woes’ and link here:


24 Comments

  1. […] and longing people, sadly, Christmas has begun to put a load of expectations on us. A whole lot of tradititions of gift giving and sweet making leave people tired and sometimes deeply in debt. Also, we have our  own expectations of a […]

  2. melissa melissa December 27, 2012

    Well, I really do not like the mad rush and all… and the plastics, I could explain LOL! But the true meaning of Christmas ~ that’s the most difficult and yet the most important thing that needs preparation… I opt for Christmas joy 😉

  3. Dangerous Linda Dangerous Linda December 25, 2012

    Merry, Wonderful Christmas to YOU my Sweet & Wise Friend!

    I agree with this wholeheartedly: “For me, the joy of Christmas is the sense of anticipation I experience. Coming as Christmas does so close to the New Year, I love to use this time to reflect on the year that has been – its blessings and lessons. I enjoy the feeling of knowing that I’m getting another chance to work on myself in the year ahead.”

    The Christmas poem is adorable — I love it! XOXOXOXOX

    PS Thank you for hosting the hop — I’m in 😉

  4. Shilpa Garg Shilpa Garg December 24, 2012

    What you have mentioned, Corinne is true for all festivals. We follow the rituals mechanically. The warmth and the zeal is missing! Sad but true! 😐

  5. Suzy Suzy December 24, 2012

    Lovely post and a great prompt Corinne. Unfortunately there are so many for whom Christmas means only a time to party. Wish you a Blessed Christmas, Peace, Joy and Love.

  6. sapna sapna December 23, 2012

    Hi Corinne,

    This is a great reminder. Most of the festivals have lost their sheen with the advent of technology in our every sphere of life. I remember when there were no phone then we believe in meeting personally more often, with phones we are loosing the personal touch.

    Children are busy with the internet, they are very well aware of latest x-box game but are not aware of the reason of the celebration of most of the festivals.

    No one is interested in old rituals, everyone want more customized, easy and non-binding rituals.

    Result is your POST.

    Thanks for this great post.

    Sapna

  7. Justin Justin December 22, 2012

    What I love about Christmas is the decorations. My family and I enjoy decorating our homes and driving around and seeing all the other cool houses that are decorated. Having worked in retail for 11 years I am not a big fan of shopping or shopping malls this time of year.

    Either way, Christmas is about family and love.

  8. Debbie Debbie December 22, 2012

    I certainly agree about the commercialism, but Christmas for my husband and me has always been about personal bonding time, without intrusions from the outside world. We don’t have children or family in this country and we look forward to our few days of “cocooning” every year. I grew up with a strong Christmas tradition, albeit a secular one, as my family was not religious. My German mother decorated the real tree to perfection, with real candles and conjured wonderful feasts and delicious baked goods, all from scratch. We are more practical about these things nowadays, but still prepare an elaborate seafood dinner, (hubby’s Italian tradition), on Christmas Eve, (our main celebration), and use the good china and crystal. I love the spirit of giving and always try to surprise my friends with fun little gift items. We socialize with friends too and the whole month is just a lovely time. 🙂

  9. Mayura Mayura December 22, 2012

    Hi Corinne,

    Ah… Christmas has commercialized with all the promotional and marketing stuff instilled into this festive season 🙂 I think it’s ’cause people now busy enough to think all about that, but there are people still take time to make their own sweets and get a real Christmas tree.

    Here people busy with shopping and things too. But I feel it in a different way too Corinne. I mean, with plastic trees and bought sweets, people still enjoy and celebrate it. Well, it should not be celebrated ’cause we have to though. Else there’s no point of it.

    I think it depends on how people gonna see and celebrate it. Here in my area the christian population is low but we all get together to celebrate it with them even there is plastic trees and ordered sweets. Today we have carols organized 🙂 Also helping ’em with decorations too. We really enjoying it though we don’t celebrate Christmas 🙂 I think that’s the spirit, togetherness and live among people.

    Happy Holidays 🙂

    Cheers…

  10. UmaS UmaS December 21, 2012

    In today’s world every festival has lost its meaning to the growing craziness to outsource everything, and not even sharing the love !!! Ppl want to get away with binding rituals specific for festivals and in the process get away from sharing the food or the love too…

    But I am happy that there are souls like you around who try to instill the forgotten msg through posts like these…hugs 🙂
    Merry Christmas to you and your family and the lovely dog Pablo !!!

  11. Anne Anne December 21, 2012

    I think there’s too much material things around us especially during Christmas that it’s almost impossible not to ask if there’s anything more to Christmas than that. Now if only people listened long enough for the answer…

    Have a wonderful Christmas Corinne!

  12. sulekha sulekha December 21, 2012

    Christmas is all about families coming together, sharing thoughtful gifts which may not be branded . My kids love all festivals and Christmas has always been their favorite one. I remember the lovely cards they used to make for me and the handmade bracelets they tried to make 🙂

  13. Galen Pearl Galen Pearl December 21, 2012

    Christmas as a holiday means less to me as the years go on. My kids grew up, the commercialism got even more overwhelming. I do love the midnight service at our church, but beyond that, I’m content to let Christmas pass on by. Not in a bah humbug way, just in a quiet reflective way.

  14. Adrienne Adrienne December 21, 2012

    I understand what you mean Corinne…

    I think as time goes by things will continue to change. One thing I’ve always said is that I’m so very blessed that I was born when I was when things were simpler and family meant so much more to most people.

    Now that has not been lost on our family. Now that the kids in our family are in their 20’s the gift giving, although it’s still fun for them, but they “get it”. Now that they are off making their own living and on their own they see how blown our of porportion this whole thing can be.

    I’d love to share a story with you if I may. My niece recently graduated from cosmetology school and is not working. An older man came in to get his hair cut and she was the one that did it for him. After he got up she gave him a big old hug and started crying. He reminder her of my Dad who passed away nine years ago. Her other grandmother is in a nursing home and doesn’t know who any of us are. She has come to appreciate life so much more understanding that we all get old and leave this earth unexpectedly at times. Family is so much more important then any old gift. That’s how we keep it in our family too and the most precious gifts to me are photos of them all.

    Thank you Corinne for letting me share that and here is never forgetting the true meaning of the holiday.

    ~Adrienne

  15. Ruchira Ruchira December 20, 2012

    Well Said Corinne. Festivals are no more the time to catch up on values. Life has become monotonous for all thus, we try to take shortcuts in all possible ways!

    Loved your theme thus, following you 🙂

    cheers to a new journey with your blogs!

  16. Joyce Joyce December 20, 2012

    Cute video, although I do not agree with the Jewish person saying, “Not fair!” For me, the best part about Christmas is being Jewish. I can enjoy your lights and songs without feeling stressed out about having to do it myself.

  17. Amy Amy December 20, 2012

    I concur… Christmas has turned into X-Mas and X-mas is very commercialized; I guess, commercialism doesn’t care who you are or what country you live in.

    I love Christmas. We have a real tree… we all decorate the tree and that includes my little one; our tree is a bit lopsided, some limbs droop several inches, weighted done with ornaments. We have a train-set that surrounds the tree… its main purpose is to transport tiny toys or candy canes; my kids play with it when ever they want. Right now at this very moment I look over at it and they lay haphazardly… every sign that little hands were the cause… lol.

    The other day my kids were talking and the oldest said something about gift giving and my four year old quickly responded; “it isn’t about gifts; it is about celebrating family”

    Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas

  18. Julie DeNeen Julie DeNeen December 20, 2012

    Fantastic post. I agree with so much of what you’ve said. Amen!

  19. Jas Jas December 20, 2012

    Very true Corinne. Actually all the festivals have lost that old world charm that made them worth celebrating.

  20. Martha Orlando Martha Orlando December 20, 2012

    Great post, Corinne, of how we can lose the true meaning of Christmas when we get sucked into the world’s expectations. I absolutely loved the little girl’s story, for she tells it in truth and with exquisite joy. And, joy is what the season of Christmas should ever be about.
    May you have joy in celebrating once again the birth of our Savior!
    Blessings!

  21. Jenn Jenn December 20, 2012

    I love the story the 5 year old girl told. What a totally heartwarming response!! For me Christmas is about God’s gift to his people, the gift of salvation. Thank you for hosting this week’s Writers’ Post Thursday Blog Hop!!

    Cheers, Jenn

  22. Harleena Singh Harleena Singh December 20, 2012

    You are so right Corinne!

    I too wonder what has Christmas become, or even the other festivals we celebrate in our country as compared to what they were long back when we were kids. I have to literally tell my kids the real meaning of such festivals and the joy they give us, rather than the exchange of gifts our mere outings they have become now. Wish things were the same as they were long back – isn’t it? And yes, for us too the main festivals are celebrated home with me cooking the favorites for my kids and family – that gives me the greatest joy of all 🙂

    Thanks for sharing, and wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas as well 🙂

  23. bindu bindu December 20, 2012

    Ah! Just what I’ve been thinking these days, more about how mechanical it is and how my children may never know the anticipation of meeting everyone, having a lovely meal cooked by lots of loving hands, a christmas tree made of some random colored papers and some stars on a mango tree (yes, that’s what we used to do) and hordes of cousins to play with……
    As for me, the tree is store bought, have started to reverse the trend of bakery cakes and well, that’s about it these days. Even church doesn’t have the old pull anymore 🙁

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