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Wednesday, Mar. 12, 2014
Christmas about much more than the hustle and bustlePosted Monday, December 12, 2011, at 11:08 AM
If the Christmas holidays are truly about our Christian faith and spending time enjoying family gatherings, then why do we struggle the most with staying content, stress-free and aware of our personal blessings?
Shouldn't these times bring us peace on earth and joy to the world as the famous Christmas carols suggest?
For many the giving and receiving thing seems to get in the way with much of our peace and harmony.
The reality for many of us is that we become emotionally frazzled, financially maxed-out and physically burned out trying to keep up and keep it all together during the holiday season.
I know there is a lot of pressure to come up with all those unique and special gifts that will impress our family members. My wife does an amazing, wonderful and frugal job in that department for our clan.
I also realize that it surely does cost much more to gather up those gifts each year.
I had to laugh as I stood next to Santa and Mrs. Claus on the Indiana Rail Road Company's Santa Train and heard a little girl, who was probably in the first or second grade, sincerely reply to Santa when she was asked what she wanted for Christmas.
She said, "I want an iPad."
Now for those who are not in the high-tech crowd, an iPad probably costs at least $500 -- a hefty request for a little girl, who as tradition would probably expect, should have been asking for a new doll or something like that.
It put it all in perspective for me.
Now, don't get me wrong. An iPad is a wonderful educational and learning tool.
But I have trouble finding an iPad for a 6 or 7 year old little girl is what we as parents or grandparents or Santa Claus really should be stressing about during the holiday shopping season that launches the day after Thanksgiving and continues up until Christmas morning.
My personal shopping season is more condensed -- usually Dec. 20 to Dec. 24, but that's just my nature and usually reflects that my billfold is not as full as it should be.
My personal view is, Christmas is about much more than receiving gifts.
To me, it's a time to gather with family and spend some quality time together.
This year, will be extra special for my own family with my youngest daughter and family coming back to Indiana for an extended holiday visit from their new home in Southern California. In addition, my oldest daughter and family from West Lafayette will also be with us in Greene County and Perry County over the holidays.
Hugging and having a good time together with my four grandbabies is better than any material gift I could ever get.
Sure, we've been able to Skype and talk on the telephone often while they all have been away, but it's not the same. To top it off, I haven't figured out a way to give the grandchildren "a bunch of tickle bugs" over the phone or the computer so seeing them in person is a real blessing.
I guess it's human nature, but as I grow older my family is becoming more cherished to me.
Another thought about the holidays turns to thinking about others, reaching out to others with a helping hand and a concerned heart.
Too often, we are entrenched in what I like to call the "me" way of thinking.
I am guilty.
What can you do for me?
How can I help me?
Why are things not going well for me?
This year, look at others and help bless them.
See that others are hurting and needing a touch of a good thing to happen to them.
There are many great things going on in our community this time of the year.
Our county is blessed with toy drives, food basket distributions and Angel trees -- all good and worthy projects.
Our churches do a good job of looking out for their own who are in need and provide for them in a variety of ways.
As a community, we have programs like Clothe-A-Child/Toys For Tots along with the coat program, Shop with a Cop, the Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign as well as the Indiana Rail Road Company's Santa Train Coat distribution program.
All of these wonderful initiatives are designed to reach out and help those in need in our cities, towns and rural areas.
Economic times are tough.
We ought to all be lining up and donating and helping out as our own finances will allow. If you can't help them financially, volunteer any way you can.
These are all good people doing good work in our community.
Nick is the assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be contacted by telephone at 847-4487 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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