Christmas: Beyond the Hype

Child making an angel in the snowEvery year, it seems Christmas becomes more commercialized. Now, with Black Friday actually beginning on Thanksgiving Day, I’m starting to feel like the holidays have lost all meaning—that it’s all about profit for the retailers and acquisition for the consumers. The magic of time spent with family and friends, of the joy on a child’s face Christmas morning, sometimes seems a distant dream to me.

In the U.S., materialism makes big headlines at this time of year. But if you look deeper, there are more important stories to be told. Stories that have nothing to do with big screen TVs or the latest Barbie fashions, and everything to do with Christ’s birth and His legacy.

Each year, my company participates in an Angel Tree project sponsored by the Friends of Wake County (NC) Guardian ad Litem Program. Guardians ad Litem serve as court-appointed advocates for abused or neglected children. These children are generally in foster care or kinship placement. Through the Angel Tree project, volunteers buy and wrap toys, clothing, and other items for a specific child, based on requests from the family.

One of the volunteer groups at my company this year is raising money to buy a child a bed. When I heard this, it brought tears to my eyes. The parallelism with a child born 2000 years ago who laid His head in a manger, because He had no bed, reminded me of why we celebrate and what our mission this holiday season should really be.

Right here, in the United States of America, amid all this abundance, are children who have no beds. In our own communities, often hidden from sight, are people in need. Whether you celebrate Christmas as a sacred or secular holiday, this season is an opportunity to look beyond the commercialism touted in the media to what really matters.

The fact is, I’ve got enough “stuff.” So much that I don’t know where to put it all. This year, all I want for Christmas is for that child to have a safe, comfortable place to lay their head on Christmas Eve. And for all children at risk to find the same.

What programs in your community deserve special attention this holiday season?


About AndreaJWenger

Andrea J. Wenger is an award-winning writer and editor in Raleigh, North Carolina. She specializes in the fields of creative, technical, and freelance writing.

Posted on December 4, 2013, in Blog Posts and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Andrea, you are so right. My family makes a special effort at Christmas time and all year round to support two charities–one through church and one where my husband is on the board of directors–that support families who have lost their homes. Both charities provide affordable housing, job and financial training and childcare support. There are many families within our suburbs struggling to find a place to lay their heads at night and many charities trying to help out.

    We also work with a local co-op whose shelves are filled this time of year, but will be desperate for cereal, peanut butter and other canned goods by March, so I would challenge readers not to forget these charities the other 11 months of the year.

    Finally, with 6 fewer shopping days, the Salvation Army has 6 fewer days to collect money in their buckets. I hope everyone reading this will keep that thought in mind when they pass by someone ringing that bell!

    Thanks for the great post!

  2. That’s a great reminder, Tracy – people need help all year long, not just during the holidays. Many charities allow you to authorize automatic monthly contributions directly from your bank account, so you can set it up once and never have to think about it again. And of course, many charities need volunteer help as well.

  3. We donate canned goods to our local shelter as well as money to them so they can buy what they’re missing. I hate all the commercialism in America and it starts so early, it’s totally ludicrous. We need to get back to basics – family, friends, animals, etc…

  4. I agree, Patty. I understand that businesses need to make money this time of year in order to survive, but commercialism is really the opposite of the spirit of Christmas. In the past ten years or so, it’s become total insanity.

  5. Reminders like this are necessary to keep our head and our hearts in the right place this time of year. We all have too much “stuff” and forget the reason for the season. There is no better way to bring that reason back to the focus than by helping those in need. Thanks for the reminder.

  6. Years ago, we cut way back on our Christmas gift spending. These days, it seems like people buy what they want throughout the year, so it’s more important to give the money to those less fortunate instead of those that don’t need it. We give to our local food bank as well as the Salvation Army.

  7. So true. I have an impossible time buying gifts for my husband, because when he wants something, he buys it himself. Food banks always need help, both in terms of donated goods and cash.

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