Over the millenia, many religious holidays have come and gone. We have comparables in our own time and space. Many complain that Christmas has become secular. Yet the secular world does not observe religious holidays. And religiosity for all men and women is a process tied to age and the human experience. One need only remember the Buddha.
The Christian celebration celebrates both the religious holiday and the Christian rite of gifting. This rite has become so popular it has been adopted in the secular world that sprang from the Christian world and in many other places. It remains Christianities best advertisement.
This year, we have seen a significant lessening of antipathy towards the Christian message. I do not know if it is exhaustion or something else. Possibly the rise of a new sense of community through the internet is allowing friends to share their most closely held beliefs. The conviction of a heart felt Christian is a persuasive argument to listen and then perhaps to find a teacher that speaks to you.
This year a lifelong friend came to me and shared his fears and the conflicts surrounding his existence and his sense of worth. I thought about it and told him to reconnect with the church of his childhood and to plug into that community. He needed that and for him it worked completely for him.
When you join with your family in the rite of gifting, perhaps you can also remember the gift provided by the shepherd. It is also joyous to live in imitation of Christ.