My 16th Christmas was one of the best I had ever had. I didn't get that "one" gift this year, such as the one Christmas when I got my brand new scooter, or the other one when I get a stereo set. But that's exactly what I want this year. This year, I simply had a few books, CDs, DVDs, and two video games on my list. I got a few things of my last, and many things that weren't on my list.
For me, Christmas day can be one of the more stressful days of the year. It's a day spent with only my family, and where I'm obligated to spend every waking minute with my family and any guests we have. Sometimes, that's works out really well, and it's fun! But other time, it's just plain horrible.
This Christmas morning was good. I slept in and awoke as breakfast was on the table. I rushed down and we ate, then opened gifts. I admit, I was disappointed that a few gifts were clothes (clothes? on Christmas? really?). To me, clothes scream, "We don't care about you enough to buy you things off your list, so we got you an ugly shirt or bad lounge pants." Nonetheless, it left me very thoughtful.
One of my good friends has had the worst year of his life in 2010. Besides getting his ex-girlfriend pregnant, he's had to deal with girl-drama, a new job, basketball, school, and his relationship with God. His year's been nothing but drama, pain, and regretful shame. In addition, his family is tight on money, and he's a 17 year old without even his permit. Because of some mistakes, his options are very limited right now. As a teenager, that's incredibly frustrating. For his birthday last week, he only got one gift: new shoes. For Christmas, he didn't get much more. I thought about all this as I sat amidst a living room stacked high with torn wrapping paper and dozens of opened Christmas gifts. I got the new Madden, Call of Duty: Black Ops, the new Hillsong Chapel and Chris Tomlin CDs, 24: Season 3 (Go Jack Bauer!!!),To Save A Life, Toy Story 3, my great-uncle's expensive .22 (with a new Nikon scope), a throw blanket, candy and jelly beans, an iTunes gift card, five or six books, and I'm ticked off at some clothes? Really?
I have always had the trait of focusing on the negative. Sometimes, it helps because I am good at critiquing things. But it's also bad because I pout or whine when I should be encouraging or grateful or happy. It took me sixteen years to get that. Even if I'm mad because my last two gifts were Coc-a-cola and hideous smiley face lounge pants, I should've been focusing on all the ridiculously awesome stuff I got! I look at my Christmas compared to my friend's. Mine blew his out of the water, but I still walked away in a bad mood. Sure, car keys symbolizing my first car would've sent my dancing in the streets, and maybe clothes weren't a good gift for me, but look at what I did get.
I think as Americans, us as a whole country are the same way. We have a lot, and get more, and get even more, but we get foul and ungrateful moods. It's amazing how seeing someone with a not-so-great lifestyle can really open your own eyes to how good your life really is.