"But the one concern that unites virtually all the people we've talked to is a yearning for a simpler, less commercial, more soul-satisfying celebration. There is a universal wish to end the year with a festival of renewal that rekindles our faith, brings us closer to people we care about, and brings light and laughter to the dark days of winter. We want to ward off the commercial excesses of the season and create an authentic, joyful celebration in tune with our unuique needs and desires.
"But is this possible? We've noticed that many people come to our workshops with an air of resignation. Although they're unhappy about holiday commercialism - 'Why do they have to start so early?' 'Why is there so much pressure to buy, buy, buy?' - they don't have much faith in their ability to unplug the Christmas Machine.
"And although they freely admit to feeling hassled in those hectic weeks leading up to Christmas and then let down by the celebration itself, they aren't convinced that they can make any significant changes. That's the way [they feel] Christmas is for adults; stressful and ultimately disappointing."Quick note from me: I don't think I've ever felt that bad about Christmas, but I do recognise the things about stress, commercialisation and expectations!
So, to end this first Advent post, I'm going to use the Christmas Pledge from the beginning of my book:
The Christmas Pledge
Believing in the true spirit of Christmas,
I commit myself to
Remember those people who truly need my gifts
Express my love in more direct ways than gifts
Examine my holiday activities in the light of my deepest values
Be a peacemaker within my circle of family and friends
Rededicate myself to my spiritual growth