Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas: Past, Present and Future - Meyer

Not Far from the Tree, my newest novel, had me researching the time of the dirty thirties and the Great Depression. Even though I didn’t live through that time, I was born while the world still felt the effects and just as the Second World War began. My research and writing brought back the memories of a time when the differences between wants and needs were distinctively known.
About the same time as Not Far from the Tree was released, the financial world began to tremble and there were answering shivers felt especially by many dependant on the automotive trades. The shudders are still spreading in ripple effects and we still don’t know where it will stop.
Now Christmas is almost upon us. My mind went back to the Christmas gifts of times past. One year there were dolls for my older sister and me. My aunt and grandmother had fashioned some home-made clothes and we were ecstatic! Another year we received wallets (and that was it-nothing more) and again I felt most fortunate and not just a little grown up. That year we received a little pin try from my grandparents. Christmas could not have been better, I had no thought of wanting more. Of course there were the “fancy” cut oranges for breakfast and even a few sweets! (an unheard of occurrence in our regular meals!) Family gatherings, bountiful meals the Christmas story and carol singing in the afternoon rounded out the memorable days. For several years, there wasn’t even a Christmas tree but we didn’t miss it all that much. We felt extremely fortunate even without the stack of gifts to which we now have become accustomed. What would it take to get society used to less or smaller gifts? One would hope it wouldn’t take an all-out depression to force us into realizing that relationships are more important than things, gifts of the heart are worth more than those with a high price tag, attention and time spent with loved ones, the lonely or alone is more treasured than the amount of parcels under the tree, that the spirit of Christmas, goodwill, the celebration really is all about the Reason for the season—the birth of a Savior. Once we acknowledge that and put Christ back in the center of our festivity our priorities will be straight.
This year, there is evidence of some reserve in the usual buying frenzy, but many are still moving through the check-out lines with carts full as though quickly buying in case it is the last time it will be possible for awhile. While I was standing at the end of the line behind six or eight people (no use moving to one of the other six lines—they were all just as busy) I pondered what it would be like for our society to change its expectations, to be happy with less material goods. Perhaps then we could take time to nurture relationships, enjoy the basics in life and renew our consciousness of the Giver.

Ruth Smith Meyer
Author of Not Easily Broken and Not Far from the Tree

1 comment:

DJ said...

Thank you Ruth for your lovely post. I filed it in my favorite+ file and sent it to some family and friends. Then I sent myself a copy! Thank you for reminding me how much I have before a single gift is opened, and how much I should treasure the people I am privileged to be with this year.

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