runfreeforever

Live. Love. Run. It's what I do.

Appreciating what the holiday season is truly about

I know Thanksgiving is over, and we’ve all traded our gratitude with visions of sugar plums, Christmas presents, hot deals, and Santa Claus. Ads and commercials bombard us with the latest things we should buy, the great new phone we can’t live without, and that great new car that wouldn’t be a bad addition as well. Besides, you won’t have to pay anything until 2013, and by then the world will have ended anyway!

I was just watching The Grinch, one of my favorite Christmas movies. The Grinch thought that Christmas was all about the presents and he thought that he could take away the spirit of the season by stealing the Christmas presents. To his surprise, the townspeople were just as happy, thankful, and cheerful even though they were missing what he thought made Christmas Christmas. But look around at our society today. Why aren’t stores advertising thankfulness for what we do have? Why aren’t they advertising the true meaning of Christmas – the birth of the baby Jesus? Why aren’t they advertising spending quality time with family and loved ones? Why aren’t they advertising giving from the heart – giving heartfelt gifts that will be truly appreciated by those who receive them? It disappoints me. Even if you don’t believe in celebrating Jesus’ birthday, wouldn’t you agree that the holiday season is to celebrate and appreciate family, love, and every other blessing we already have? Would we still be positive and cheerful this holiday season even if the Grinch stole our Christmas presents? Or if we had a stressful day at school or work? Or even if our turkey is too dry and the mashed potatoes a bit too cold? Honestly, I doubt that I would. All too often I forget to thank God for the blessings I have, for my family, for my friends, for my school, for my warm house, for never having to worry where I’ll get my next meal. Why am I so entranced by the ads in the newspapers, advertising all the things I don’t have but supposedly need?

My church is participating in a project called Advent Conspiracy. It’s a movement to give more of your time rather than worthless presents, to worship and celebrate Jesus, and to donate the money you would have spent on one of those presents to building wells for clean drinking water in areas of the world where such necessities of life aren’t yet accessible. Just think about it. While you’re (either out loud or mentally) complaining about your sub-par pumpkin pie, there are millions in the world who don’t even have clean, safe water to drink. It’s hard to wrap your mind around, isn’t it? We see the pictures on TV of the starving and the hungry, but then we go about our days and forget about it. We don’t realize how real their need is. We don’t realize how much we take for granted. Just think about how thirsty you get on those long, hot runs, or how thirsty you are at the end of a race. What if you didn’t have clean drinking water freely accessible? I never think twice about the water I drink from bottles, drinking fountains, from my own sink. We don’t realize how much we truly have when so many others have so little.

Here’s the Advent Conspiracy video. I challenge you to at least think about it. Spend a minute thinking of how thankful you are for family, friends, food, Christmas, and water, and try to make the most of this Christmas season, remembering the real reason behind why we celebrate.

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