January 7, 2014
I’ll bet you’re thinking, “I can’t believe how 2013 whooshed by”. The translation of that thought into the young world is, “Yeah baby, half-way through the school year.” The Christmas break is many different things to many different people. With all of the different viewpoints and opinions about what Christmas has become (compared to what it was originally intended to be), how are we to feel now that Christmas Day has passed?
On the day after Christmas, I was one of many in line to return an item. While in line, I overheard a conversation between a mother and her pre-teen daughter that went a little like:
Daughter – “Oh my Gawd! Mom, these people are so rude. It’s not my fault they have to stand in line. Hello, I’m standing in line too.”
Mother – “Well baby, now that Christmas has passed, some people are ready to move on to the next year.”
“Mom, we are still on our Christmas break. Like, Christmas Day is over, but not the Christmas season.”
“Sweetie, most people don’t get a two-week Christmas break from their jobs. A lot of people went to work this morning – some even had to work on Christmas Day.”
“Are you kidding? Gramma’s still in town, and …”
Their conversation continued on to most likely cover several other topics, but I heard an employee say, “I’ll take the next in line,” and that was me, so I moved on to the open register. What stuck with me most about that conversation was the sharp contrast between the adult view of Christmas and Christmas in the young world.
As a young person, Christmas is all about THE gift(s). Yes, yes, Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of the Christ child! But, after the worship service, after the communion, after the prayer – let’s open the gifts! As we get older, our expectation of gifts on/for Christmas subsides. We begin to recognize the value of each moment. We further hold to the saying, “Each moment is a gift. That’s why it is called the present.” Tomorrow is a gift yet to be unwrapped.
Young people, please recognize the “why” behind the gifts. Understand all that went into the selection of each gift. Recognize that the ability to purchase one gift or many gifts is truly a blessing not to be overlooked. It is very easy to compare the things you received to the gifts your friends may (or may not) have received. However, I urge you not to compare gifts just to be boastful or as a gift competition. While you may have gotten all that you asked for and then some, there are those among us who are simply glad to have had a hot meal on Christmas Day. You should enjoy your blessings, not flaunt them to make others jealous. Rejoice in your glad tidings. When asked, “What did you get for Christmas?,” respond in a way that shows your consideration of others.
Remember that it is still not too late to bless someone else with a Christmas gift. Consider those in our community who were forced to go without on Christmas Day. Christmas is that magical time when we truly allow ourselves to think about the power of giving.
Maybe it’s because of the sacrifice that was given for us. Maybe, it’s because of the number of people who pause, just for a moment, to speak to complete strangers. Maybe, it’s because of the time we spend with each other. Or maybe, it’s simply because our kids are happy, the adults can allow themselves to be happy. Whatever, whenever, why ever or wherever – carry the Christmas spirit with you for many, many months into 2014.
After all, another 365 day cycle has just ended. In school or at work, it’s up to you to make this new cycle the best ever for all who are fortunate enough to be a part of your world – Young or old. Happy New Year!
Columnist Chris Dinkins is an educator and native South Carolinian. His viewpoint is based on personal, classroom and volunteer experiences. Send questions and comments about youth related issues to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.