Thursday, December 6, 2018


Black Friday and Cyber Monday marked the onset of the holiday madness: spending orgies, crowded stores, mounting debt, running, going, doing. Tis the season to go broke as commercialism reaches its peak. Consequently, tis the season to be depressed for all too many.

I spent most of my adult life trying to find a way to escape the madness. There came a day when I recognized that we were running in circles and going nowhere. That the merry-go-round was not what it seemed: an innocent ride for children. That the seasonal hoopla was only a distraction from holy reality, a saboteur of REAL joy and peace. A kick in the face of Christ.

Once I saw through the farce and realized that the glitter wasn’t gold, that we were all under the spell of darkness masquerading as light, my innermost being cried, stop this insanity and let me off.  For years I suffered in silence. Felt like a lone wolf howling at the moon, lamenting the rape of the sacred.

Then one day I realized that the merry-go-round was never going to stop and let me off. The world keeps turning and going in the same direction year after year. I’m the one that needed to muster the courage to leap off and dash toward freedom.

“Courage: the most important of all the virtues
because without courage you can’t practice
any other virtue consistently.” 

~ Maya Angelou

It is a leap of faith to break free from cultural mores that contradict your own spiritual values. Disentangling from entrenched customs takes divine fortitude and a willingness to stand alone. Yet most are so encultured they don’t recognize the matrix entrapment and will continue the vicious cycle of spending and debt for generations to come. When “have you finished your shopping” becomes society’s mantra as Christmas draws near, you know who runs the show.

Only a brave heart can face the family and say, “Christmas is not about stuff. Forget the Santa list. We’re not going there this year. You have enough stuff already. I have enough stuff. Waste not, want not. It’s not about presents, it’s about Presence. Immanuel. Let’s keep it simple. Keep it Real.”

Yet most will continue on the merry-go-round, spinning and spending and conjugating the three verbs spoken of by Evelyn Underhill:

“We mostly spend our lives conjugating three verbs: to Want, to Have and to Do. Craving, clutching, and fussing... we are kept in perpetual unrest, forgetting that none of these verbs have any ultimate significance except so far as they are transcended by and included in the fundamental verb to Be, and that Being, not wanting, having and doing, is the essence of the spiritual life.”

To Want, to Have, and to Do: the way of the world. Simply to Be is all but impossible for the masses caught up in the hype and hoopla. But those who’ve summoned the courage to move in the opposite direction have been delivered from perpetual unrest and have discovered the secret of true inner peace and joy. They’ve learned to be and to be still in the midst of the stampede. They’ve learned to focus on the essential, to breathe deep and find rest for their weary souls.

How stressful are the holidays for you?
Or have you already leapt off the merry-go-round too?


  1. Very interesting, mind opening post! True words of wisdom. We should indeed learn to "focus on the essentials", "keep it simple and real".

    1. That's my philosophy in life: keep it simple, keep it real. Thanks DUTA, and you have a peaceful, joyful Christmas season and a blessed New Year ahead.

  2. I have always been amazed how folks go 'bat-sh.." crazy this time of year. Having not been part of that tradition, it's hard to contemplate. Glad to see that you are keeping your family rooted in the true meaning of the day.
    Merry Christmas- to you and yours.

    1. I don’t get it either, Roy, and I’m from that tradition. I see that you are staying rooted and grounded in your tradition as well. Keep the lights aglow and here’s to a blessed Chanukah!

  3. If we remember, the joy of the gift is in the giving," we can look for balance. Sometimes this works for me.

    1. Good point, Michael. Balance over extravagance any day. And too, if there’s joy in the giving that’s one thing, but if it becomes obligatory that’s quite another. Peace and joy to you.

  4. Debra, Christmas is all about Jesus, the greatest gift of all, and not about how many presents are underneath the tree. We need, in His name, to be gifts to the hurting in this world, not pummeling each other with material gifts that will too soon be forgotten and discarded. Hope my grandchildren understand, but I can tell you right now, that Virginia will.
    Blessings, my friend!

    1. Yes, and it has become so commercialized that even the platitude, “Jesus is the reason for the season” is sold on trinkets every year. And how about the term, “regifting?” My worst nightmare was stashing in a closet a gift I didn’t need or want and giving it back to the person who gave it to me because there were so many I couldn’t keep up with who gave what.

      Virginia is the apple of your eye, I can tell. No doubt you are mentoring her in the ways of God.

  5. I agree, you write words of wisdom. Our holidays were wonderful but bursting at the seams full of family, fun and activities. I am wore out but not regretting any of it. I ate too much, laugh a lot, you can never laugh too much, cried some, but mostly I sit and watch my grandchildren and their parents interact. It was a faith building time because I could see answers to prayers as I watched. Nobody over did it on presents, we took our time and enjoyed the moments often. Christ was present through it all and He is still here and went home with our family. Just a small t ouch of heaven on earth. I have been taking cleaning up and reorganizing slow, no need to hurry. Work for a while, stop, watch the news, watch a movie, work some more. I am tired but content. Blessings.

    1. What a blessed time you had, Betty! Nothing like the presence of Christ in the midst of family fun. Wishing you another year of abundant blessings and time to share with loved ones. Hugs!

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