I'm a mainstream Quaker. I live in the present. I live among nonQuakers. I guess that makes me a real 21st century Quaker, rather than a 19th century Quaker or a fictional Quaker in the 20th century.
As a Friend I have struggled against the mainstream culture of Christmas commercialism. This year I think I have reached peace, or at least truce, with it.
The mainstream culture has lots of stuff to pile on us--parties, group charitable efforts, tons of special food, and an obscene amount of commericalization. Every retail place, from coffe shops to hardware stores, wants us to buy gifts. It makes Christmas impossible to ignore, even if one is Hindu or Jewish or some other faith besides Christian.
I like the holidays anyway. I like lights outside since it's so dark and cold. I love the food, though my higher self urgently reminds me to practice my moderation skills. I enjoy giving and receiving. And I like holiday music, to a point.
The bulk of the commercialism relates to the giving--which quickly equates in our culture to buying. But it need not. So much joy comes from giving of ourselves. I have never thought myself creative, but I married a man who is.
The gifts he has made amaze and delight me. One year he used colored pencils to color a 50-cent map of my favorite lake, and he framed it himself. Bought the wood, stained it, made a frame, cut the glass to size.
Another year he restored a chair that was my father's and his mother's before that. I received this restored chair December 25, 1997, five days after my father's death.
Another time he sewed me a cape. I don't know how long I've had it but I know I wore it when pregnant 15 years ago. I still wear it often, in cold weather.
Even I can do a few creative things. I can harvest lavendar, add it to flax, and sew it into a little eyeglass-shaped bag, then put that bag into a slightly larger bag out of gorgeous silky fabric. Instant eye-pillow! If I can do that, anyone can.
So Christmas reminds me of hope--that even someone like me can make nice gifts.
Back to what I like, or love about the holidays. I like getting in touch with my family, and do enjoy card I receive from friends and family (but not from charities and insurance companies).
Most of all I love that it's open season for wishing for Peace on Earth. OPEN SEASON. This is one time of year Christians and others share this wish.
Sharing the wish is good. Now...what do we do? Have a green Christmas, practice joyful moderation, and love love love, and give (of self) give (of self), give (of self)!!!
2 days ago