Faith and Life: Giving, giving and more giving

Christmas can be such a magical time. When else do we decorate — everything — this much?

And yet, when there are positive and negative feelings that people encounter as Christmas approaches, often the main concept of it all is missed. It is Christmas — this is about Jesus Christ’s birth! No way around it.

Yet, there is a higher rate of depression around the holidays that is not in conjunction with the true meaning due to lack of relationships, family, and even money to do what people think they ought to do.

Depression is a very real feeling, yet it can be helped by taking the focus off oneself. The root of Christmas in the spiritual is Jesus, but there are often too much psychological problems during this time.

I listen to many people dreading the trip home because of “unfinished business,” meaning pain in their family. To combat depression we need to turn our view away from ourselves and toward others. This completely mimics Christ’s example of giving to others. In cognitive behavioral therapy — the theory with the most scientific evidence as to its efficacy — we often point people to getting out and even doing things “for” others as a way of combating depression. And it works!

With the true meaning of Christmas in mind, this year I decided to have my kids participate in giving unto others, more than receiving. My youngest had noticed a family who had lost their job standing outside a drugstore one day on errands with his grandma.

The next day, we bought gifts and goodies at that store, packed them into our car, and drove straight to the family. My son got out of the car and gave away goodies, food and a toy.

When my son returned, he had a smile a mile wide. He felt so much joy. He said, “Mommy, I feel so good inside. I felt so sorry for them. I feel so much love.”

He talked about this “good” feeling for several days. The weeks followed with helping someone put up their tree, purchasing Christmas decorations for a family, giving away food and goodies. My children beamed with the joy they felt.

I have to admit, this has been a difficult year for me. I needed to turn my view from myself onto others — this is what life is about. It's not about me. It is about Christ, other people, especially those in need, teaching my kids to care, and giving, giving, giving. This brings true peace and joy. Not getting everything on our list.

Bless you this Christmas and the coming new year. And if things feel tough or sad, reach outside yourself and give. It really does change one's perspective on this holy day.

The Rev. KIMBERLIE ZAKARIAN holds a licensed marriage and family degree and can be reached by email at, or by mail at Kimberlie Zakarian Therapy, Inc. 2233 Honolulu Ave. Ste 310, Montrose.

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