Transforming Christmas (A Christmas Story)
Today I want to invite you to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. I want to share the story Transforming Christmas, about a little boy who reminds us how important it is to appreciate and value things. This story helps us remember that we must be thankful every day for what we have, even though it might not seem like much. Gratitude shouldn’t be left for just one day a year.
This time of year we are bombarded with ads on TV about sweets and toys and perfumes… Everything around us tells us that Christmas, this wonderful and scary time of the year, is here. The streets light up and a kind of collective madness takes over. It turns us into compulsive shoppers, overfilling our pantries and buying gifts for everyone. But is this really the true meaning of what is essentially one day a year? Transforming Christmas is possible if we can see beyond the wrapping paper.
“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.”
Little Oliver had just turned five years old and he was intensely curious about the world around him. He started to notice how everything was changing. The streets filled with bright colors, he heard songs repeated everywhere, and people were decorating trees with all kinds of ornaments. On TV he saw ads for sweets, toys, wine, perfumes… Oliver saw all of this, and it made him think… He finally dared to ask his mom this burning question,
- Mom, what is Christmas?
- It’s something that only the lucky ones can have. I hope I can give it to you someday, son. – his mother responded sadly.
Oliver was sad to hear his mother’s answer and to see her expression. But, he didn’t lose hope that someday he would have his own Christmas. The days passed, and little Oliver kept investigating. Then, Christmas morning arrived.
Oliver woke up really early and ran to wake up his mother. She slowly opened her eyes and saw that her son had a card for her. It was homemade, made of recycled paper. But it was a beautiful card, full of colors, drawings, and a hopeful message, “You give me Christmas every day because I feel happy when I am with you.” Oliver’s mother started to cry, and her son asked,
- “Mom, why are you crying?”
- “Because I didn’t know how lucky I was until you showed me” – said Oliver’s mother, as she hugged her son tightly.
- Of course mom, we have Christmas every day.
“Christmas isn’t about opening gifts, it is about opening our hearts.”
Love is the best gift
It is possible to transform this festive time of year. Little Oliver did it, in his innocence. He valued what was truly important to him. The love of his mother was, without a doubt, the best gift he could receive. This child reminds us, just like he reminded his mother, that sometimes we lose sight of what is truly important. We worry about what we can’t offer to others, either because we can’t pay for it or because we assume there’s no reciprocity.
And maybe, just maybe, we lose sight of everything we already have and receive from other people. No one is richer than the person who is rich with people who love and appreciate them. And absolutely all of us have at least one person to love and who loves us back. Also, and especially, on Christmas.
“If you don’t know what to get your loved ones for Christmas, give them love.”