The commercialization of the holidays seems to come sooner and sooner with each passing year.
Some people only see Christmas as a time for “stuff”: gifts and toys, candy canes, caroling, decorated trees, egg nog, parties and a jolly rotund guy with a white beard and a red suit.
The Santa Claus as we know him is a combination of many different legends. Santa’s name is a basis from the Dutch legend of Sinterklaas, Bishop Nicholas of Myra (now modern day Turkey). Ole St. Nick was rich, generous and loving toward children, becoming known as their patron saint. He was known to give joy to poor children by throwing gifts in through their (hopefully open) windows.
Such stories add to the generosity and benevolence of the season. A cherished Christmas decoration at our house is a porcelain figurine that shows an image of Santa Claus, hat off, bowing with clasped hands to kneel at the foot of a manger. While some see no way for the secular and religious aspects of this holiday to co-exist, there is room for both; we’re blessed to live in a big yard.
For the retail industry, Christmas is commercially recognized as a time of sales to spurn gift giving, or as Madison Avenue sees it: revenue — and what we enjoy as bills.
I want to mention the greatest gift given to mankind. It initially came in the form of that infant depicted in those nativities you’ll see adorning some frontyards in December. Some feel Santa Claus clouds the image of Christ. I choose to think of the positive images behind the Yuletide season — Father Christmas and our Heavenly one.
Speaking of gifts and bills — we were born with an inherited unpayable debt; fortunately, this bill has been paid in full for us, but we need to request the tab to be forgiven. While this gift’s acceptance is free, it was bought at a great price.
Remember, a gift is not truly a gift until it is received. For me, Jesus really is the reason for the season. Merry Christmas to you all!
Anthony D. Rabak lives in Alta Sierra.