Well it is Christmas time… again. Our lives and hearts are all a flutter with joy, good tidings, feeling overwhelmed, and did I mention feeling overwhelmed? Yes, it is absolutely a cliché to say Christmas time can be stressful to the point of mental anguish. We all want to please and impress our children, family, friends, and co-workers with lavish and creative gifts. To accomplish what? The standard boiler plate response is to state how giving makes us feel good, and seeing joy in others brings joy to our own hearts.
There is no doubt that gift giving swells our hearts by seeing those special to us glowing in happiness. Happiness… what precisely is happiness? According to Merriam-Webster, happiness is as follows: “the state of being happy”. Some synonyms for happiness include: pleasure, contentment, satisfaction. Happiness is so valued, that it is one of the three unalienable rights in the United States Declaration of Independence. The other two being life and liberty. Perhaps we’ll get to those another day.
In this season of expected unbounded happiness, why do so many feel such hollowness once the gifts have all been unwrapped? Possibly it is because we spend so much time chasing the carrot of cultural technology obsession, we leave our loved ones behind in our cyber dust. We have lost deep connections in our lives because we feel the need to stay up with the “times”.
Think about how much time you spend staring at a screen this holiday season searching for online sales, events, or commenting on those hilarious dancing “elf yourself” posts from friends. What would that time mean to your child, spouse, or a parent if you were to give that time to them? I think most of us are guilty of being hypnotized by those tempting devices. However, there is no gift in this world that substitutes for meaningful time spent with a loved one, and this is especially imperative for children in our lives.
The sparkle of a gift begins to fade once the package has been opened, but an experience with a loved one will maintain a luster long after the lights of the season have dimmed. So the next time you pick up your smart phone, tablet, or begin a Netflix binge; take that time to hug a loved one, read to your child, or call an elderly parent. I wish everyone a blessed, joyous, and safe Christmas season.
-Mr. Gossett, Chatfield Instructor