A Time Of Giving

The Santa Clowns are coming! Santacon is almost upon us. What a blessed time of the year. Revelers celebrate by travelling up and down Eighth avenue, stopping only to scream in your ear and puke on your shoes. Debt, suicide and depression skyrocket at this unique time. Somehow, we're not doing it right or getting the desired result here. 

We start out trying to be heroes at Christmas and end up becoming the Grinch. Do we have to prove how loving we are by going broke? I watch "A Christmas Carol" and I'm on Scrooge's side until he goes nuts. By the end he should be institutionalized, because clearly he's had a psychotic break. The forced frivolity just brings me down. "Oh, but it's for the kids!" Give me a break. Those little greedbags don't need another "American Doll" or "Red Dead Redemption" to fulfill them. Somehow these overstuffed little turkeys are going to be running the country? By the end of the day they are exhausted and whining, confused as to why they are not feeling magical and fulfilled. We've been convinced by big corporations to eat the wrapping paper instead of the present.  

Here's the thing: I want to believe! I do, I do, I do! But, I have to find something to believe in besides the crass commercialism or the forced revelry. I confess, that I do get this feeling of optimism and possibility at Christmas time. I want to love and give. I want the world to be a better place. Here's something that might help: The experience of being 'in joy' is not about the joy we receive, but about the joy that we give. What if the experience of Christmas is not about getting at all, but about what and how much we give? 

After all, it is called the season of giving. What  can I give of value, that will fill me with the experience of love and joy that I want? Also, what can I give that won't cost me anything? I can give unconditional love in all directions and that will certainly fill me. No judgment, just good will and acceptance. I can give being amused rather than annoyed with people (that's hard because I've really mastered being annoyed!) . I can give a sense of community to all those around me. I know how to make people feel like they belong. I'm good at being encouraging and supportive. It makes me feel happy and relevant to give that. I can give up grinding against the things (and politicians) I can't change. I can give up my list of petty grievances against all those who have wronged me and actually give real forgiveness. You know, the forgiveness for no good reason, except to forgive? I can give the gift of attention to the people around me, by being really present and really listening. I can hold space for all of us that this is a time of joy and fun, a gentler time where our better angels can shine. 

Maybe I don't have to secretly stick my foot out so that the Santacons trip and fall into a pile of garbage, even though that's fun and I'm pretty sure it's legal. Maybe I'll do this 'giving' thing instead.

Thomas Jones