A Christmas Lesson

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An article about a realization I had over the course of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, or the title of the next Hallmark movie?

Why not both? Outside of the falling in love aspect of things — I’m already happily engaged — I think what I learned really could be considered fodder for a Hallmark script.

There’s always a certain melancholy for me after Christmas is over, and it has little to do with the fact that soon all the beautiful lights, wreaths, trees, and Christmas music will cease. I’m sad that we’re returning to lives of dedication to something other than what has become increasingly important as I grow older.

As a child, Christmas used to revolve around the accumulation of things. As we got older, this mentality followed us into every Christmas we ever had. Oddly enough, to this day, I can hardly remember the gifts that I got throughout the years with the exception of a few. Namely weapons like rifles and knives and that one year I got a go-kart are things that really stick out.

I’m a redneck by birth.

However, it was on Christmas Eve that I was confronted with just how much the conditioning upon me when it comes to Christmas had really seized me and my first-world sensibilities.

My fiance and I had just gotten done with Christmas with her family and, like we do every year, we had seen a live performance Christmas Carol at the Dallas theatre. It’s an old story that is often dismissed as just a cheesy lesson to learn around the holiday season but something about seeing it performed live before you really drives it home.

Even then, the depth of its lesson hadn’t hit me yet.

The other tradition we do on Christmas Eve is going to one of my favorite Dallas restaurants. It’s a Brazillian steakhouse where meats are prepared churrascaria style and served to you by waiters walking around with these slabs of meat and cutting bits off for you to eat from. I’m getting hungry just writing about it.

I get very full at the restaurant to the point where I almost feel sick. At one point, I still had bits of meat on my plate. I didn’t eat them — not because I was full — but because they weren’t cooked to my taste. These bits of meat were well done, and I like my meat a bit on the rare/medium-rare side.

Stay with me, I have a point to all this.

I told my fiance that I didn’t want these bits because of the level of doneness and that’s when it struck me.

There I was, the most spoiled man on the planet sitting amongst the most spoiled people on the planet, rejecting a piece of perfectly good food because it wasn’t prepared to my taste. I’m not the first person to have this realization, but it’s here that people can go one of two ways with their thoughts.

What we’re programmed to do as a society is feel shame at this realization. The mainstream tells us that our life of abundance and privilege is a horrible thing that we must feel guilty about. That we’re a shallow nation of spoiled children.

That’s not where my head went.

Don’t get me wrong, it tried to go there. Years of propaganda via movies and television shows would have made it easy to land on that conclusion about myself and this country, but as my mind drifted to that train of thought I realized that if we are a shallow nation thanks to our abundance then it’s even more shallow to believe that it’s a bad thing.

It struck me that my “privilege” is a blessing that I should show gratitude for instead of contempt. I live a life of comfort that was afforded to me through the intelligence, hard work, and sacrifices of men and women that came before me. As I sat there and thought about it, I found I wasn’t disgusted by the meat on my plate. I was humbled by it.

There’s a lot to be said about the attitude of gratitude and how it shapes your outlook. It’s hard for me to feel anger and disgust at being a citizen in one of the most technologically advanced and abundant nations on Earth like so many in this nation do when thankfulness is taking the lead.

I’m consistently shown this contemptuous attitude by members of the left who preach that we need to counter our country’s abundance by spreading out the wealth and adopting socialistic systems. However, this doesn’t strike me as thankful. In fact, it strikes me as greedy. To take from some and give to others — especially yourself — isn’t a moral thing to do. Masking it with words like “fair share” doesn’t stop it from being a level of theft.

I may not be able to remember the things I got for Christmas years ago because I’ve been so inundated with creature comforts throughout my life, but I feel little guilt over it. Sure, I can feel sympathy for those who don’t have nearly the level of comforts that I have, and I would endeavor to help them through productive means, but at the end of the day, I find thankfulness for this abundance far more wholesome and good than hatred and guilt for them.

Oddly enough, this gratitude for what you have really makes you realize what is more important. This thing you received for Christmas is great, but you received it in a place where blessings of abundance are a common phenomenon. The things take a back seat to the substantial.

Family, freedom, and brotherhood.

God bless America.


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