A Perspective on Christmas
With all the hype surrounding our 21st century version of the Christmas holiday, it’s hard to remember a time when Dec. 25 was just another day on the calendar for many people. Of the seven entries my great-grandfather, Dr. Harry G. Blaine, made in his diary on Dec. 25 from 1877 to 1883, only three mentioned getting together with family or friends on that day. The rest of those years – and probably many more – Dr. Blaine spent Christmas at home on the farm doing chores or visiting patients or working in his office. One of those years he was in medical school in Indianapolis and spent the entire day in his room reading and writing a letter to his wife. No mention of gifts or lavish decorations or sumptuous meals anywhere.
Granted, as a man in that society, most of those duties might have been relegated to his wife, if indeed they happened at all. But I think the point is valid: We have made Christmas into a monster of commercialism. The bigger and more expensive the gift, the more your family will love you. The day must be perfect, from the wrapping paper down to the last piece of gourmet chocolate.
So as you celebrate your own version of this holiday in 2015, take a step back and find some perspective. For many people out there even today, Dec. 25 will be just another day on the calendar. Doctors and hospital personnel will be working to ensure that your medical emergency is treated. Police and firefighters will stand ready to aid at a moment’s notice. Nursing home employees will show up to care for their residents. Our troops at home and abroad will be on alert to protect our freedom. Families living under a bridge in Anytown, U.S.A., will somehow survive another day.
Remember — and whisper a prayer of thanks for the people in your life, not the things that Santa may bring.