Mt Pleasant News
http://mt-pleasant-ia.villagesoup.com/p/christmas-cheer-abounds/937810

Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 7, 2016

Christmas cheer abounds?

By Brooks Taylor

By BROOKS TAYLOR

Mt. Pleasant News

“Send Christmas Cheer,” the subject of the email read.

Hmmm. Yes it is the holidays, the time of cheer and goodwill toward your fellow men and women.

At least that is the message from billions of advertisers.

Not only do you see the advertisements proclaiming Christmas cheer, but you hear songs like “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” in stores.

So much pressure, so much stress.

While most people look forward to the holidays as a time to spend with families and loved ones, renew acquaintances and send greetings, there are those who dread the holidays.

Those are the people without families, or estranged from their loved ones. Those are the ones who can’t enjoy the same happiness that others are and feel guilty about it.

Sometimes it is impossible to be happy during the holidays and it could legitimately be argued that Christmas increases a person’s depression.

Why?

Timing — Christmas comes when gray days greatly outnumber sunny ones. In the Midwest, it is generally cold and either snow on the ground or the threat of it. And then there’s a time issue. How delightful is it to travel to and from work in darkness?

While it could be said that giving is one of the central themes in the Christmas message, families and togetherness rank a close second.

There are the holiday get-togethers, the office parties, the service club parties, the special dinners, the exchanging of greeting cards — all of which promote Christmas as a time for family and friends.

That is wonderful…if you have a family or a special someone.

During the holiday season, my thoughts go to those who by circumstances cannot be with their families, such as our troops overseas. My son is on his third tour in Afghanistan and am sure he would rather be with his wife and one-year-old son. There are many more like him.

I don’t know which is worse — spending Christmas alone due to matters beyond your control or spending it alone through no fault of your own.

Bryan Golden, an author and self-development expert whose work occasionally is reprinted in this forum says the most valuable holiday gifts are those that aren’t sold in stores.

“When you give your love, your time, help someone in need, aid another in solving a problem or overcoming an obstacle, you give something priceless,” Golden said.

“The best gift you can receive is the joy of making someone else happy,” Golden continues. “Being selfish is a wonderful way to live. When you give with no ulterior motives, your actions are seen as genuine. Should you expect something in return, your behavior is always suspect. We all know people who do nice things only when they want something in return.”

Some of my fondest memories are of Christmases spent while in childhood. Ironically, gifts don’t come to mind. What I remember most is being surrounded by family, family who I knew loved and cared for me.

It was a feeling I passed forward…until events beyond my control terminated it.

Consequently, I continue my search, not surrounded by family, for the true meaning of Christmas while wishing all of you a Merry and fulfilling Christmas.