The Meaning of Christmas by Steve Rapson
The spirit of Christmas is love. Love of family. Love of Jesus of Nazareth, whose birthday we are celebrating. Christmas gifts symbolize the gifts Jesus received.
What we want for Christmas is what we want all the time. Christmas is just when we hope we get it. We want to love and to be loved. To settle differences. Resolve anew to seek the good and the beautiful in our loved ones and in ourselves.
As children, the fun of Christmas is the gifts: magical materialization of childhood fantasies. As adults our fantasies change. We want love. Christmas gifts are how we say it. Because saying it is risky. “You go first. Then me. Meanwhile, here’s a little gift.”
Saying it is the best gift of all. If you love them tell them. Tell them in writing. Be specific. “I love you because…” Never mind any, “I love you in spite of…” It’s Christmas. If you think they are great, if you think they did great, if you are proud of them, then tell them. Write it down, wrap it up, and give it to them for Christmas.
If this is too risky for you right now, you could buy a card that expresses your feelings. Write on that card anything else you can add. Your name will do for starters. Present it all wrapped up. Make it as important as you feel it. They’ll get the message. This way you can practice all year long: birthdays, holidays, Ground Hog Day, any excuse will work. By next Christmas you’ll have it down.
Meanwhile, here is a helpful guide for conventional gift giving.
It’s a Christmas gift if, and only if:
1. It is edible. Food for the body. The more frivolously comestible the better. The main benefit being it won’t hang around cluttering up the house.
2. It is readable. Food for the mind and spirit. The Far Side, The Dead Sea Scrolls, Gone With the Wind, National Geographic, MAD Magazine. After reading it can be passed on. Observing the anti-clutter rule.
3. It is listenable. Music is the language of love. Poetry. Books-on-tape. Also recyclable.
These rules do not apply to those twelve and under—or fourteen or sixteen—pick your own cut-off age. Material Christmas is for kids. Use the money you saved on your grown-up loved ones—soon to learn how loved they are—to materialize the fantasy world of every child you know. For my loved ones, here’s my Christmas list:
1. A card. Eloquent professions of my good qualifies in your own handwriting are best.
2. Chocolate. The expensive kind. Not too many creme centers.
3. Books or music. No Schopenhauer. No heavy metal.
To love and be loved… That’s the meaning of Christmas, Charlie Brown.
Merry Christmas to you and yours.
Steve Rapson is the author of The Art of the Soloperformer: A Field Guide To Stage & Podium. A concert guitarist and songwriter, Steve has released several CD’s. The first of which was Christmas Guitar