The value of the “Christmas spirit”

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The value of the “Christmas spirit”

This is when self-demand takes place, from the inside out, regarding to whom and what presents to give.

There is a contradictory spirit that seems to control the majority of the population at this time. On one hand, there’s Christmas, theoretically, Jesus’ date of birth (although it has subsequently been proven by science that he was, in fact, born between the months of March and April), on the other hand, the population is overtaken by rampant consumerism.

Christmas, especially nowadays, is synonymous with the giving of gifts, which some people see as a measure of the level of consideration, appreciation, love and respect. During this season, principles are replaced by material possessions; it’s an unbridled consumerism fed constantly by the media. Notice the advertisements and social media: it’s all about gifts involving the season, a constant bombardment directed at all ages, starting with children (with toys, games, etc.), followed by the youngsters (mobile phones, gadgets, etc.) and ending with adults, with offers to suit every taste (perfumes, chocolates, watches, trips, clothing, footwear, etc.).

This is the Christmas that we are accustomed to relive year upon year; a vicious circle that will automatically exclude those not adhering to it.

But before anything else, I appeal to your faith. The intelligent one is the one who is not blind, but thinks, meditates and reflects not only on the Word of God, but also on the world around. Let this faith help you to answer these questions:

  1. Do I really need this product, clothes or object?
  2. How will it/they enhance my life?
  3. Does my current financial situation alow me this indulgence?
  4. Wouldn’t it be better to hold on to this money and use it on something more worthwhile?

A study conducted by the Consumer Payment Report reveals that four in ten Portuguese have no money after paying their monthly expenses and 29% consider that they do not have enough money for a decent life. For this reason, a third of Portuguese people are considering the possibility of emigrating due to their country’s current financial plight (according to a study by Intrum Justitia).

However, the “Christmas spirit” prevails, since we observe how people, even without money, get into debt, by buying what they can and what they cannot afford, without looking at their economic condition. This makes the month of January the longest and most difficult to face because that is when the bills finally arrive!

Unfortunately, this is also one of the times when most failed and successful suicide attempts take place, because those who have no family or money to give presents to feel excluded, unhappy, sad and depressed. As already noted, the number of gifts received and given is seen by some as a measurement of their love.

Out of curiosity, do you know where this present giving tradition originated from? Well, when Jesus was born (between March and April),

three wise men came with gifts for the Messiah and no one else! Not even Mary or Joseph were mentioned!

Now answer this for yourself: is all of this worth it? In the name of a tradition that has been distorted and manipulated by humans, through religions, with the passage of time?

Dear reader, if you want to give someone a gift, give it to yourself, by overcoming your weaknesses in the way you act and react. Respect and consideration for yourself, others and vice versa is better than any known material gift.

It is in the family circle, between parents, children and siblings, where most of the gift exchanging takes place at Christmas time, however, please take the time to think about the following:

  • What is the gift that any child wants to get from their parent throughout the year?
    Answer: love, respect, displays of affection, and concern and interest in their future…
  • What is the gift that any parent wants to receive from their child throughout the entire year?
    Answer: respect, love, affection, and appreciation for their teachings…

In other words, these values, unlike material goods, do not fade or deteriorate. On the contrary, they remain and overcome the test of time. Invest in these values this season, and if you are to give somebody a gift, let it be something that time cannot corrupt.

Some practical advice to help you survive this season:

  • Always question yourself on whether what you are purchasing is really important FOR YOU!
  • Instead of buying gifts, call people you care about, especially those who are somehow keeping a distance from you due to grudges or any other reason.
  • If you have to spend money, do it on basic things, such as a moment of fellowship or a meal among family and friends.
  • Do not pawn your possessions because of a festive occasion that is more about commercial reasons than anything else.
  • Evaluate what your priorities are, because in the end, you’re the one paying the bills!

Bishop Edir Macedo
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