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For so many people, Christmas is about rampant commercialism. Many take this opportunity to try to keep up with the Joneses. They rush here and there, trying to keep up with a hectic schedule. I propose that we all jump off that speeding train and take time to not only appreciate the true meaning of Christmas but also to embrace the true spirit of Christmas.

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Source: Mt Olive MBC-Various Ministers’ Alliances / Mt Olive MBC-Various Ministers’ Alliances

A Difficult Time for Many

Emotionally, this is a difficult time of year for so many. There are children in CPS or juvenile detention, seniors living alone, or in assisted living centers.  We have the homeless among us and those with unstable living environments. Many of our military members, at home and abroad, become depressed at this time. Millions of incarcerated men and women also become sad at this time of the year.

Depression and anger drive up the rates of suicide and domestic violence. Stress builds upon stress to the point that it destroys the holiday cheer of many. The underlying problem is that tremendous focus is on what they lack rather than feeling gratitude for what they do have. I believe feeling and expressing gratitude is what Christmas spirit is all about.

The True Meaning of Christmas

Whether you are an ardent Christian, if you live in the Western World, then you know that the true meaning of Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Christ. The Christ child is a symbol of love, light, peace, and hope that makes this such a joyful season for true believers. Yet, even among some believers, this message is not enough. The news does not help them to overcome the anger, depression, and stress of the season.

That is why it is so important to embrace the true meaning of Christmas. It would help to reach down within yourself to find the spirit of Christmas. To embrace the true Christmas spirit, we must be willing to give. Give of yourself, your time, your love, and your worldly possessions.

A Gift as A Symbol of Love

Do not think of the gifts you give to others as an obligation or duty. Think of your gift as a symbol of your love for them. While no present can accurately reflect the love we feel for those who are near and dear to us, we can show them that they matter by spending time and thought to create or select a gift with meaning. If you are struggling with your Christmas spirit, then perhaps you should avoid the mall entirely this season and find a different way to give.

Embracing the spirit of Christmas also means giving to those beyond our immediate sphere as well, especially those most in need. It is easy to provide a couple of dollars to a panhandler or to throw some money in a Salvation Army bucket, and that is certainly worth doing. Still, if your Christmas spirit needs a boost, then perhaps you should try something more hands-on.

The Gift of Gratitude

Local churches, schools, and charitable organizations can usually give you a list of opportunities to give and help. I recall a church that initiated a “shoebox collection”. They would buy or create an assortment of holiday gifts that fit into a plastic shoebox and give them to those in need at Christmas.

This Christmas Radio One Houston, in partnership with a sponsor, provided bicycles to children in the community. During the past few years, the station collected or purchased clothing and coats for those in need after named storms. Many people donated, and many helped distribute the gifts in our community. Their feedback was heartwarming. Many said their involvement enabled them to appreciate the things they possess.

Embrace the spirit of Christmas and find the true meaning of the season to bring more joy and happiness into your life. Merry Christmas! Happy Kwanzaa!

J Thomas Smith is the host of “Sunday Morning Live” on “The People’s Station” KMJQ/Majic 102.1 (9-11 CST). Your comments are welcome at Follow on Twitter @DrJThomasSmith on and