12/26/2013 9:05:00 AM Financially struggling
at Christmas time
By Armstrong Williams
The very best gift of all this Christmas will be my being able to count my blessings in a multitude of varying fashions. As we endure a season of economic repression, our traditionally bountiful holiday season has cultivated the remnants of manger scenes in chain department stores and Christmas trees in schools. By refining this year’s Christmas celebrations to appeal less towards material things and more so reawakening the virtues faith and family, we will once again find ourselves remembering the true joy and meaning of Christmas. Jesus Christ can easily be considered the top blessing this world has ever come to receive. The combination of extraordinary birth, life, and death freed many believers from the troublesome burdens of sin – past, present, and for years to come. Living in today’s age is difficult enough as it is and without Christ’s gift of forgiveness, times like these would be tremendously impossible to maneuver. Moreover, Christ has graciously been given to this world to free us from all of our very worst transgressions. One of which being our obsession with possessions and worldly objects, we often find ourselves entangled in the things in the world which the Apostle John so pre-cautioned us clearly not to. Somewhere throughout the history of mankind’s technological advances and Hollywood appetite Christmas has transformed into much more than a mere religious celebratory holiday.
It has morphed into being about gifts and gadgets as opposed to faith and family. Christmas dismally has lost its real meaning once we became enamored with the idea of receiving presents. As the day became more about giving and receiving the perfect present and considering our blessings based upon the caliber of our material possessions, it has drastically warped into a season of stress in both a financial and emotional fashion. In lieu of humanity’s frequency to disappoint, billions of people around the world experience more strain and loneliness ‘celebrating’ Christmas more so than any other celebrated holiday. How sad is it that we have taken the greatest gift this world has ever been so fortunate to receive and let it consume and enervate us towards a path of destruction. Ironically the very same capitalistic nature of man that has afforded and introduced humanity with some of the greatest innovations and opportunities has an indiscernible characteristic to seize the opportunity to monetize even within the religious community. Whilst the birth of Christ occurred during a time of economic turmoil, Mary and Joseph faced many of the same exact problems that so many Americans are presented with to this day. Uncertainty and problematic lodging travel, and work situations was the causation for fear and frustration then and more so now than ever. Many of today’s amenities were quite plainly nonexistent, allowing for maintaining a direct focus on their faith uninterrupted by unnecessary frenzies. Not only are millions of Americans burdened with foreclosure, facing employment termination and fretful for the future but many are also dealing with actual health illnesses such as diabetes, breast cancer and other forms of cancer, heart disease and depression to name a few.
Depression appears to be most prevalent this seasonal time of year as many suffer from loneliness, mourning loved ones, or feeling remorseful because they cannot afford to buy the idolized gifts so desired by their families. Whatever your situation is this holiday season, please remember we mustn’t take tomorrow for granted and bear in mind to be thankful for what blessings we do have. Today, what we consider to be troubles may very well be the exact things needed for us to refocus on the real purpose of Christmas. Without the expectations and burden of giving the latest and greatest toys to our friends and family, we are free to offer our hearts. Whether giving a handmade gift, a cup of coffee, or offering some sort of service it might even entail reaching out to someone we’ve previously lost touch with, forgiving a foe, or lending a hand to someone in dire need. Whatever the case might be, I guarantee a gift given from the heart will be more fruitful for you and more valuable for them. As I begin to accept that Christmas in America will never be solely about celebrating the life and times of Jesus, our goal needs to be that we retain a firm focus centered on Him.
And this year, with less money in our pocketbooks and more debt on our credit cards than ever, our Christmas should theoretically be filled with more blessings than ever before. In order for this come to fruition, we need to embrace the veracity, simple truths of Christmas and use this toned-down holiday season to discern what is truly most important in our lives. In the absence of emblematic seasonal pastimes we can honestly do what we’ve always secretly wanted to do: forget about the glamour of the day’s celebrations and focus on its divinity. In doing so, we unleash the freedom of forgiveness which is in accompaniment with Jesus Christ’s birth and death. Then and only then will we begin to truly understand and embrace the true purpose of Christmas. Armstrong Williams is the author of Reawakening Virtues, and has content on RightSideWire.com Join the discussion live 4-5 p.m. est at www.livestream.com/armstrongwilliams or tune in 4-5 p.m. est on S.C. WGCV, Sirius/XM Power 110, 6-7 p.m. and 5-6 a.m. est.