With the holiday spirit in the air, it isn’t uncommon to hear everyone and their gingerbread-man-eating-grandmother talking about the true meaning of this joyous time of year. For some people, it’s about honoring their religion, for others it’s about traditions like decorations or playing in the snow. There are a lot of people who tend to complain as well around the holidays, they say that it’s all commercialism and selfishness. I’ve even had a family member try to make a case that there is no such thing as a “true meaning of Christmas” anymore.
A few years ago, I might’ve agreed with such a cynical opinion. I am not a religious woman, I have had more than one traumatic experience to disillusion me with the world, I have watched ungrateful children curse their parents for not liking their presents. In theory, I would have every reason to be as bitter and cruel as Scrooge himself. Yet, as I have grown older, I’ve somehow found more hope rather than less. Now that I’m older, I realize the true meaning of not only Christmas, but every holiday going in during this time, is about love.
Not sickeningly romantic love with red roses and chocolate everywhere, that’s reserved for Valentine’s Day. No, I am talking about the other kind of love, that your friends and family get to share. This is a time of year where people consistently bond, whether it’s over how delicious hot chocolate is or even to complain about the commercialism of Saint Nick and Starbucks’ coffee cup drama. Whether people realize it or not, they’re always a part of something in the holidays, and there’s so much more love than selfishness around.
The issue is, people must look and remember that. Life’s woes can obscure how much good and love there still is in the world, even in our personal lives. We can focus less on what presents to buy, or holiday selfies. We can focus on each other, and start a ripple effect to override the greed with compassion. I will enjoy the love I share with the friends who’ve helped me feel safe here at Lewis and Clark Community College, I will treasure the interesting relationships I share with my professors, and I will learn to welcome the family I rarely see. I will choose despite the state of our world to look at the world through optimistic eyes, and remember to show my love for the wonderful people I have in my life. They are my gifts from the universe, they are my Christmas lights when I feel my world is dark, and they are the warmth that keeps the cold weather away.
While not everyone reading this may realize it, you too have these people in your life. We all have so much more love than selfishness in this world, so let this be the season where we choose to remember that and love each other. May all your holidays be filled with as much love and joy as I know mine will be, because love is an all-year-long celebration.