Just the other day I heard two adults talking about Christmas. They were lamenting having to put up a tree or decorate for the holidays. They spoke of having to do it because of a young child still living at home and how excited he gets at Christmas. As I listened to the conversation, a sadness came over me as I thought how empty and depleting that must feel to boil Christmas down to “having to put up a tree and decorate for the kid.” Over the years I have heard many adults declare that Christmas is for kids and many a parent lament about “the amount of money we spend on presents and toys.”
No one argues the fact that Christmas makes human kids resort to wild animal behavior as the thought of toys, presents, unlimited sweets and Santa Claus inhabit their brains. What has happened to adults in the mix of all of this excitement? To see Christmas as a one big “to do” list is a tragedy at best. Instead of the holiday being a time of still, quiet and contemplation for adults it has become a time of heavy duty mall activity. Christmas is not only for kids. If we allow the space, it is a time for us as adults to feel a little child like. We can take time to marvel at the lights and take in the smell of a fireplace. We can enjoy the aroma of wafting pies and cakes and actually take delight in putting the star on the tree. Noise, chaos and toys are not a prerequisite for a meaningful holiday. There is beauty in serenity.