Christmas Glitz Doesn't Tarnish the True Meaning

An Irish friend told me that he missed the days when Christmas was celebrated with only food, friends and the Christmas candle in the window.  The current commercialism clutters his Christmas experience.  I told him I loved the glitz, the lights, the trees, the carols, the decorations, the cards, the parties --- and yes, the presents.  Sure, some people over-commercialize Christmas and make it all about the "things," but those folks don't find the deeper meaning because their hearts are empty.  But for me the lights and decorations create an anticipation of something great to come, they frame a meaningful experience.

There’s something about seeing a wrapped gift with your name on it.  What’s more personal than your name, handwritten on a tag attached to a gift someone chose for you – a gift they wrapped in pretty paper to make it a surprise? Exchanging gifts gives us joy.  Presents are the physical manifestation of love, like a wedding ring or a sliver cup for a new baby or new bike for 7 year old.

The Christmas glitz provides a backdrop for an experience of remembering  - remembering our blessings; remembering who we belong to - who are people are; remembering that there is value in this crazy life as long as we cling to love, keeping in mind that there’s always hope no matter how bad things seem; remembering a little boy who was born away from home to frightened young parents who had to run for their lives shortly after his birth - who didn’t even have a shirt to clothe him in – the same little boy who grew up and told the world to welcome the stranger, include the marginalized, liberate the oppressed, feed the hungry, comfort those who mourn, to stop judging and start loving.

Christmas is the road we follow back home every year. It’s the place we stop to remember the good things when time circles around us. Christmas is about connection and knowing every good thing in life comes through connection…that we don’t accomplish or gain without doing so through being connected to others. No one rises from the ashes of despair without relying on a friend.  It’s what we hunger for – connection to our ancestors, to the land, to those we love, to nature, to our Creator.  And sadly it’s a time of despair for those who can’t grab onto anything because their disconnection is magnified by a world of people seemingly fixated on remembering everything they ever loved.

Here’s to being connected to you, our friends and family.  Though we many not see you often, you matter to us.  Nothing is ever lost to the heart, which is why we can pick up where we left off the next time we’re together and know our affection for each other has not changed even though our hair continues to grey and our faces have a few more lines.  May your new year be blessed with connections that fill your life with joy and love and laughter.

May your road be easy, may you find new friends and may all your Christmas wishes come true.

Excerpt from The Burgoyne Christmas Letter 2013

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