No matter what religion you practice or believe in ... or even if you aren't a religious person at all ... it's easy to get swept up during the holiday season with the holiday spirit. Unlike at any other time of the year, people seem to be more tolerant, a little bit kinder, more generous, and a better human being overall. Most people act the way you wish they would throughout the rest of the year.
It's also easy to understand why so many people view the holidays with disdain. Large, pushy crowds fill the stores, self-absorbed in their quest for that perfect gift. The stores open earlier and stay open longer in a greedy grab for more and more profits. It's next to impossible to even find a parking space at your favorite store, even if you're only joining the throngs to buy essential items. The commercialism of the holidays has masked or stripped away the true meaning of the holiday season for some people.
This year, my wife and I have a new reason to look forward to the holiday season. For the first time, we get to play Santa Claus, since the arrival of Ryan. We recently went to Toys R Us (with Ryan in tow, who slept throughout most of the shopping trip ... as long as he was moving in the shopping cart) to purchase the Santa gifts for him. We've looked forward to being able to do this for such a long time, and we weren't sure we'd ever get the chance.
Many people will testify that children change your life. Indeed, having children makes you rearrange the priorities in your life. It gives you a different world view. It makes you more closely examine and spend more time thinking out the consequences of your actions. It gives you a new appreciation for things you might have previously taken for granted. Yes, having children does change your life, for the better.
I can only hope that we can all hang on to that "holiday spirit" well into the new year. I hope that we can all keep our priorities straight and in better order. I hope that we can all bear witness to the innocence of a child, and marvel in it.
Until next month, I bid each and every one of you peace, happiness, serenity and prosperity. Happy Holidays!