Gift giving during Christmas time has become a worrisome experience for many people. The day before “Black Friday,” practically everyone is trying to figure out what I should get so-and-so for Christmas? What will make him or her happy? Maybe a bicycle? A flat screen TV? A new shirt? A pen? Something. Some THING. People go to the mall, look at all the displays and wonder, “Gee, will that make him happy?
Unfortunately, most people perceive only people as temporary material identities and therefore wrongly conclude that material things will make them truly happy.
Especially at Christmas, people give so many material gifts in the attempt to make others happy. During Christmas time, material things are put in boxes and made to look very special. These gifts are nicely covered up to cause people to wonder, “Oh, what are in those little boxes under the tree?” In this way, people anticipate and want to enjoy whatever is in the boxes.
In the Bible, in Corinthians, it is stated:
“Look not at the things which are seen but at the things which are not seen, for the things which are seen are temporary but the things which are not seen are eternal. Seek the things that are above, not the things that are on earth”.
We cannot be made truly happy by any material thing because we are not matter. We are not material; we are not the body; we are not the mind. We are the eternal spirit souls or living entities within these material bodies. We are the life force, not the body. Therefore, if we get material things, because we are not material, such material things cannot really satisfy us.
Now as soon as we can understand that we are actually sparks of God, children of God, then we will conclude that what will really make us happy, and therefore the best thing that a person can give us, is something that has to do with our spiritual nature.
For instance, if I can give you for Christmas or at any time, the gift of understanding that you are eternal – you are not temporary; that your body can die but you cannot die — then I’m giving you the gift of anxietylessness. In other words, I am making it so that you don’t need to be in anxiety about the death of the body.
If I give you the understanding that you are the eternal part and parcel of God, then this will make you actually happy. If I give you the gift of letting you know that God loves you unconditionally, that you can have Him as your Best Friend, and that He will actually give you protection – take good care of you – and that’s the greatest gift I can give you. If I can help you become attached to God, then that is actually the only thing I can give which will truly make you happy. Anything other than that will not make you truly happy.
People, basically feel obligated to go out and give other people material gifts. They feel they have to buy a person “things” in order to prove to them that they do love them. They are feeling that despite the fact that I cannot afford this, I’m going to buy it anyway because if I don’t then this person will think I don’t love him. And this is the mentality that exists.
And it’s all based on people thinking, “if so-and-so loves me, then this person will give me something which costs a lot of money, and this is the measure of their love”. What a perversion.
What is usually forgotten at Christmas time is the fact that it is a birthday. It is the birthday of the perfect example of someone who loves all of us unconditionally and who is giving us nothing material at all and yet loving us more than anyone else. So Jesus is the perfect example of someone who loves us unconditionally and giving us the greatest gift. He is teaching us that we should love God and emphasizing that this will make us happy. He is giving us perfect knowledge of our identity and our relationship with God.
Yet there are people out there that feel that unless God gives us something material then God doesn’t love me. These people are wrongly thinking towards God in the same way they are thinking towards other people. It’s the whole outlook in life in general, that material things will make me happy and therefore anyone who loves me will give me some sort of material enjoyment. Their friend is someone who makes it so they have some material gain and their enemy is someone who makes it so they have less material gain. And some of these people will even marry someone who will help them get more material gain and immediately leave that person when that person no longer gives them material enjoyment.
Let me clarify something. I don’t want to give people the impression that I’m against giving a gift to someone that I truly care about. There is nothing wrong with giving a gift as an expression of love. But the material gift is not the end in itself because it is material and therefore temporary. Yet, it tells the person that you care about them and would like to give them a token of that feeling.
The materialist’s symptoms of so-called happiness include alcoholism, drugs, suicide, cigarette chain-smoking, endless consumption and accumulation of more and more things without ever being satisfied.
Generally, the materialist experiences three fears: the fear of not having something; the fear of having it and being afraid they are going lose it; and the fear of if they lose it will they ever get it back. Another symptom of the materialist is false ownership. “This is my house; this is my car; this is my boat”. Never do they think of where the wood that built the house came from, where the metal that built the car came from, or where the products that built the boat came from. If they did they would realize but they were in a position of being caretakers, safeguarding someone else’s property – God’s.
If people thought like this there would never be wars because we would all realize that being brothers and sisters, all having the same Father, we are just caretaking His property. So if one part of the world was rich in oil and another part of the world was rich in grain, and each needed what the other had, wouldn’t we simply share our Fathers property with our distant brothers and sisters?
But what we have instead is conflict between countries. Each fighting for territories of influence and resources such as raw material and markets for goods. It is not an issue of ideology or freedom. Neither country is solely concerned with helping other people. Instead, each country is determined to build military strength. Military strength that enables them to go somewhere else and take what they do not have.
In America, People’s freedom is not really the simple interest of the United States government. Americans have their vested economic interests. And just as other countries are interested in dominating and exploiting, so are we. Nothing but big animals fighting over God’s property. And unless these governments can change their ways, God will eventually arrange these nations to cancel each other out with all their nuclear bombs.
It is clear why there is no peace in the world. People are simply not content with following the teachings of all the saintly persons. Sure, we all have different religious labels on our bodies but our consciousness is the same materialistic consciousness of dominating and exploiting what is God’s property — be it his children or the world.
The feeling is, “this is where we will get our happiness”. The goal then is to get as much sense gratification as we can. To do this we need more material objects; we need more control and more power in order to take hold of our property. Therefore, we conflict with other people who are trying to do the same thing.
People are fighting over God’s property because we all want to exploit it to enjoy our senses. Whether we look at it on an international level or an individual level, there is no peace because, practically speaking, we are against God. If we want peace and we want this world to be like the kingdom of God, we have to start being the servants of God – lovers of God – not the lovers of materialism and illusion.
People who love materialistic things are naturally selfish and cannot see this connection. Newspaper editorials state that the Christmas season is the time for joy in giving. Yet, why is there so much selfishness, corruption, crime, exploitation, etc., around? And yet, this same newspaper is always bursting with ads saying, “enjoy this and you’ll be happy”. And aren’t the selfish and corrupt citizens simply trying to follow the message of these ads?
So on one hand, people are encouraged to develop an increasingly materialistic, self-centered consciousness and on the other hand, they wonder why there is no peace in the valley. But it’s not really a big mystery. For the world to be peaceful, we have to be peaceful within ourselves. And we are not going to be satisfied or peaceful within as long as were acting as thieves acting against God. A thief can never be peaceful. He always knows he’s a criminal. Even if he’s not caught, he’s in anxiety that somehow he will be caught.
So, as long as we are trying to be false lords or enjoyers and as long as we see the world as a place for sensual exploitation, then we will be just like thieves who have stolen a pot of gold and are spending it here and there. We cannot be peaceful in this way. And as long as we are not peaceful, we cannot have a peaceful neighborhood, a peaceful society, or a peaceful world.
So on this Christmas Day and on every other Christmas day, see it for what it is – the birthday of the one person that genuinely and unconditionally tried to give us all love for God. And when you give a gift to a loved one, give it with a sense of sincere loving feelings for that person but realize it is your love that should make them happy and not some gift-wrapped emptiness.
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