October 17, 2013
Fall blew in with another successful Oktoberfest here in downtown Savannah earlier this month. We can now say, yet again, that the Holiday Season has arrived. “So what,” one might utter, in response to the seemingly never ending commercialization of every single “special” day or event on the calendar, the incessant shoving down our throats of those wonderful days on which we used to wait so joyously to partake. Perhaps we even catch ourselves asking, “Why can’t ‘they’ just let it all come as it may, let us decide when to begin creating our costumes for Halloween, planning our traditional menus for our Thanksgiving dinners, and (especially) start our shopping for whichever of the most glorious of holidays we choose to celebrate: Christmas, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, etc.?”
However one feels about the holiday spectacle, it seems to me we created this culture of non-stop crass commercialism to satisfy something within us. It is an outward manifestation of the search for meaning in life. Plus, people wanted holiday stuff out earlier so they could get prepared, so they’d have plenty of time to get it all together for the big day(s).. So the merchants and the manufacturers obliged. Traditionally, one thing that brings me back to some semblance of sanity during the peak of the Season (when it all just seems like too much) is the Charlie Brown Christmas Special. Need I say more? It reminds me of the reason for the season, so to speak.
When I look back over the years, it amazes me how important it was at certain times to have certain things, and the lengths I would go to get them. I wish I’d have known then what I know now–that the really important things in life are the things we usually already have: Family, friends, community, home, Spirit. These things have become ever more meaningful as the years pass, especially when I consider that there are some out there who do not have any of life’s true treasures.
So my practical plan for the holidays this year is to demonstrate some gratitude and do something to get out of myself and help others. For as unseemly as it all might sometimes appear, the Underlying Reality is that we have created what we’ve gotten, both individually and collectively, and it is up to us–each and every one–to make it better for ourselves, our families, those around us, and the world at large by being the best we can be today. None of us is promised tomorrow after all, so be grateful for today. And remember that together with a little Grace, despite our illusory differences we can do anything.
Peace Be with You ALL….Don Newman