Christmas Overhaul


Christmas strikes me as an absurd mutation – Jesus wasn’t born in December, ( Romans slipped the occasion in with Pagan solstice celebrations to make it more palatable – Christmas trees mimic early Pagan rituals of cutting branches in mid-winter), Santa Claus mythology is just about as non-Christian as it gets. (Fundamentalists want to ban Harry Potter yet a red nosed Reindeer flies Santa around the world in one night). Does anyone even know why we exchange gifts? Apparently “miracles” happen at Christmas – who performs them?

Pondering “Christmas spirit” led to a conclusion. Christmas needs an overhaul. Instead of painful, politically correct seasonal marketing, why not put our foot down and say “Christmas gifts are no longer required”. I propose Christmas be a time for awareness – giving not to our family, but to the global community. Imagine the possibilities – if we applied even a smidgeon of money spent on gifts towards global initiatives. what might we accomplish?

Ask yourself why we exchange gifts – if reason escapes you, maybe it’s time for a Christmas overhaul.

Real Meaning Christmas Picture

 

Land of the Spirit Bear


I’ve always been a bit of a dreamer; for as long as I can remember the wind has carried melodies, certain trees protected on the off chance a fairy had made it her home, the night sky a reminder of endless possibilities. Never a Santa Claus or Easter Bunny believer; appalled by the indignity of slapping fairy after tooth – my spirit thrived and grew on the certainty that ancient people accomplished feats beyond explanation because they revered the world around them. Before Christianity and organized religion closed the minds eye, before worshipping the sun or seasons became a sin, and before pondering the stars resulted in  death on a fiery stake – mankind listened as the earth spoke.

I don’t want to debate religion – I want to ponder what mankind seems to have forgotten.

I find it so disheartening that technology, science, and religion have eradicated “wonder”. Wonder as in awe and reverence; not Godly rhetoric but honest to goodness, gob smacking, holy crap our world kicks ass wonder. Few people gaze at the stars – the cosmos practically invisible from artificial light pollution. We Google answers, opinion or solutions to questions without any attempt to solve them ourselves. Divisions insulate us based on religion or politics – both of which have agendas of their own. Media irresponsibly turns fiction into fact under the guise of “opinion”. Technology lulls us into a false state of invisibility, while our connection to the earth collapses under pressure. Instead of opening our eyes to natures signals, we genetically alter perfection – all in the name of the almighty dollar. Mankind is out of control – simply because we’ve forgotten how to slow down and wonder.

Children’s classics like Mary Poppins and Peter Pan capture the essence of my dismay. Children who could talk to the birds while very young, or never grow old in Neverland. Written as fading gasps for an inexplicable longing; sensing something was lost but unable to remember what it might be. Knowing an emptiness simmered just under the surface, yet never being able to put your finger on it.

My life is no different; despite my beliefs I’m caught in a hamster wheel just like everyone else. Sometimes something happens to shake my world back into perspective. If I’m lucky, when I least expect it – my world becomes crystal clear. Two days on Vancouver Island brought me back from the brink. Not 5 paces into the trail at Cathedral Grove, I stopped as the gently swaying giants whispered to me. I had entered the land of the Spirit Bear. My senses trembled,  years fell along the path;  each footstep taking me closer to wonder. My nose filled with the scent of cedar and damp moss, I heard sounds from birds in the canopy to moles deep underground. Nothing escaped me; I was awake and alive in a techno-colour dream. Aboriginal spirits danced in splashes of sunlight; their voices telling the story of how Raven created the Spirit Bear to remind him of a time when the world was covered in ice and snow. I made a silent promise not to forget that moment.

http://www.wildshots.ca/2009/10/legend-of-the-spirit-bear/

Last Minute Gift Suggestion


http://www.gardenharvest.org/donateanimals0704.htm

The other day I was in a coffee shop; a Christmas episode of America’s Funniest Home Videos was airing on the flat screen. Clip after clip of children opening gifts they didn’t like. The audience laughed as ungrateful children threw fits over gifts they abhorred. Books, sweaters, toys; flung with contempt – the family with the most petulant child stood to gain $10,000 for parenting these little treasures. I had no interest in hanging around to find out which child was rewarded. A toss up between the boy who hit his mother in the face when his package contained clothing, and a girl who pulled down the Christmas tree when Santa brought the wrong doll. It wasn’t funny.

Rather than ponder what’s wrong with society; I have a suggestion. Give your child a goat; specifically give a goat in your child’s name. It could also be chickens, sheep or cows. The point is not the farm animal but the gift.  Lets teach our children to view the world with caring eyes. They don’t want to pull down Christmas trees.

Garden Harvest is one of many organizations that works to provide reliable food sources for third world families. If you want something more tangible; take your child shopping for a gift to donate to your local Christmas Bureau. I’m not suggesting you deny your little face slapper a gift. Merely suggesting you take this time of year as an opportunity to ponder ways to give back.

temper tantrumrafa 2010, Flickr