The Holy Presents vs. The Holy Presence

by Jesse S. Hanson (Sr.)

With Christmas shopping upon us, I could only think of the frustrations we’ve had in my family over this wonderful holiday gone bad, so to speak. The commercialization has gotten so bad that there’s no point even discussing it. Everyone knows but everyone goes to spend the almighty dollar on the holy presents and the sacred economy is saved. I thought Christmas was to celebrate the “Holy Presence”, not the “holy presents”.

So I thought of calling to mind, once again, a little book from the hoary past. No, it’s not a holy scripture. But I believe it should be required reading for all of us living in this age of consumerism, or the “Poly Yuga” as I like to call it. I’m not working for or anything here, but they have 51 copies for under 4 bucks.


Buying gifts for people is a nice thing. I’m not saying it isn’t. Some devotees of Krsna have told me that giving and receiving gifts are two symptoms of love shared between devotees. Maybe we’d prefer to do it spontaneously, but even the event of exchanging is enjoyable and kind of heart-warming, provided there is recognition that this holiday is first the birth of one of our most Holy beings. Shopping is not a required ritual pilgrimage for our spiritual advancement.

So this Christmas, I would say forget the so-called economy. If we’re going to buy things, let’s buy them from each other. Let’s support artisans and crafts persons who generally put far more love into their works than they do thoughts of profit.  Let’s bring some sanity back to the thing.

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