It’s likely that you have spent the last several days hustling to complete that infamous Christmas list. You have convinced yourself that capitalizing on every 10% sale is what Christmas is all about. Insomniac children everywhere force themselves to sleep, as they painfully await the reward for their marginal behavior. You send gifts to people you haven’t talked to in years. You expect gifts from people you haven’t seen in years. You have a vague idea of what you previously believed about this time of year, but can’t help yourself from saying “holiday tree” and “happy holidays”.
You think briefly about making a difference and maybe going to a shelter or church, but you spent far too long in Walmart to get there in time. You want to spend time with your family, but couldn’t resist the holiday triple overtime pay. You and your spouse argue about what isn’t perfect about the season, your lives and your relationship. We pack the malls, as the homeless pack the emergency departments. We cook all day, eat until we wheeze and then throw most of the food out. After taking breaks to allow the food to settle, we power through the gratifying 14,000 calories. We lay on the couch skimming the Christmas specials, not realizing that we consumed enough food to feed three starving children for a week. We quickly flipped by that channel.
These are our happy holidays. These are the days that we look forward to every year. These are the days that we are more comfortable saying “Black Friday” than “Merry Christmas.” What we have done to Christmas is a microcosm of what is happening to our society. Not only have we changed what we do, we have changed why we do it. As hard as we work, we tend to do what we do for mostly selfish reasons. We are not selfish because we are evil. We are selfish, because we have simply forgotten our nobility.
Irrespective of our religion or culture, Christmas offers us a reminder of what should be important. It offers us a reminder of the story and its significance. Christmas shouldn’t be about discount prices, black Friday and what you get. Christmas should be about sacrifice, compassion and what you give. The word holiday implies an entirely different thing. Holiday implies rest, relaxation and respite. It makes sense for us to be selfish on holidays. After all, the word holiday is generic. It doesn’t conjure up the feelings that this time of year should be about.
And what the heck does this have to do with success? As our society becomes more generic and more politically correct, we may lose our nobility. Whatever we do, we should do it for reasons beyond our own self-interest. We should do what we do for more than what the return is. We shouldn’t be good because someone is keeping a list. We should be good, because it is the right thing to do. We should do what we do for a cause greater than ourselves. We shouldn’t let our society dictate our motives and tell us what is important to us. We should do what we do, because it will benefit more than just us, because it is noble and because it is right.