December 22, 2014

You might wonder why I feature a picture of a professional football stadium in a  Christmas blog.

I can't quite give a sane sounding answer to that. It's just the way my mind works. Somewhere I see a link that my abstract thinking brain connects. Really, it's not so much about a stadium as it is about something infinitely smaller. I refer to the lowly atom. And to really get to the heart and core of the matter I'm actually thinking about something infinitely smaller even than that, and that would be the nucleus of the atom. From the start I have to admit that by the farthest stretch of imagination, I'm no physicist. But let me share my limited knowledge about this subject with you and explain why I see a connection to Christmas. If you enlarged an atom to the size of a football stadium, the nucleus would be the size of a small marble. Unbelievable isn't it? Yet all the power and all the significance of the atom is in the nucleus. Without the nucleus the atom looses it's reason to be. Without the nucleus the purpose of the atom ceases to exist.


Well it seems that for many, Christmas has become this massive, stadium sized, mega giant mountain of issues. Issues of finance, emotion, obligation, travel, and the ongoing pressure of an ever decreasing amount of time left before December the 25th arrives. We've all heard about it and complained about it. I'm referring to the commercialization of Christmas, but commercialization is not all that fills the stadium around the marble. Like the atom that has many levels that eventually lead up to it's surface, I see many comparisons with Christmas. But alas we need to be done with the complaining, give the credit cards a rest, shut the door to the clamour of traffic jams and push the stop button on the noise of songs about a reindeer with a red nose. Come on...aren't we a little deeper than all that? Aren't we a little wiser? Have we forgotten about the heart and soul of the season?


I suggest we peel back the layers this year. I believe in order to really enjoy and understand the beauty of Christmas we need to look past what we see on the surface. Look beyond the sale posters of the retailers and the barrage of senseless music about snowmen and reindeers and elves, and the TV slogans pummelling us with what we MUST have to find happiness at this or any other time of the year, like the hundreds of drugs that apparently we can't live without in spite of the thousands of ways their side effects might kill us! And don't even get me started on the Cialis ads!


Give me a break! Is this really as deep as we can go?


I realize that I experienced some major paradyme shifts when our Jesse almost lost his life in my backyard pond. Though I was always a person who sought the reasons why certain events came into our lives, Jesse's accident instantly brought that kind thinking into much greater focus. It's about finding the truth about things by looking past what we can see, to what we can't see. Like looking at a tree and how strong it stands in front of us, leaning against great winds and severe weather. But yet the strength of the tree isn't in the branches or even the trunk. The strength of the tree is in what we don't see. It's in the roots. That's what holds the most massive tree in it's place. The power of the ocean isn't in the waves splashing on the surface. It's in the mile of deep water below that we don't see that drives the psunami on it's destructive course. Are you getting where I'm going with this? Christmas goes significantly deeper than tinsel and lights and Toys R Us.


Though I will admit this, sometimes about all that's good. Good food, good friends, good times with days off work and party plans. There are warm wishes, extra smiles, and "Merry Christmases", that come to us from the mouthes of strangers over counters as we buy gifts for those special people that occupy our hearts throughout the year. I am so glad that some of these most beautiful happy feelings that are in the air around Christmas, the ones I remember as a boy have not all dissappeared. The rush of time, technology and significantly declining social values have not defeated the eternal joy of the Christmas spirit.


But sometimes Christmas is about much more frustrating things like maxing out credit limits, fighting traffic, standing in endless cashing out lineups, suffering through winter flues that find their way into our families at the worst possible time of the year.  Sometimes it's too much alcohol to keep emotions in tact or dealing with grudges, bitterness, and facing the realization of an attitude of unforgiveness toward or from loved ones that may have plagued our families for months past. Yes, this can be a very trying time indeed.


Yet the Christmas I know is not about any of the above mentioned maladies. When I peel back all the layers of junk, when I enlist the help of the largest snow shovel in my shed and dig through all that the cultures and centuries have added and get down to the nucleus of the day that is Christmas I find something that is very small indeed, but it's what holds all the power and all the significance, all the importance, all the good and all the joy. What I discover is the true heart of Christmas. I find the Christ child. The first gift, and not the star on the top of a tree but a star from the east that when it was noticed first by men who chose to follow it, history has called them wise men. Wise to follow the real reason we celebrate his birth. It's the birth of a child who brought love into the world. A child who grew to a savior who still blesses those who follow him.


From Jesse and all of us on the Nevergiveup team, we wish you the most beautiful of Christmases, full of happiness, hope, truth and love.


Bob Arrigo






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