Saturday, December 23, 2017


Christmas Tree and Christmas Market, Dresden, Germany

By SchiDD (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commonshttps:

Over the past few years, I’ve been treated by a nurse who’s an immigrant to the U.S. from Ethiopia, her land of nativity. Now she lives in Portland, Oregon and practices in a big hospital there. This week I had an appointment with her this and as the blood draw and examination  continued we talked a bit about Christmas.

I asked her, “When do Ethiopians celebrate Christmas?”

Do you know that Orthodox Christians, including Ethiopian Orthodox, celebrate on January 7?  I did not know that. But she said so, and then continued, “Actually, I have two Christmases every year.” In Ethiopia itself, Christmas is a lively family and community day of celebration, including a ball game that's played on only Christmas.

Getting back to America, we talked about:
  • listening to holiday music. 
  • rushing to buy or order last minute gifts. 
  • the stock market closing early so that traders can get to really important business—last-minute preparation for December 25. 
  • Cooks preparing special treats: nut breads, cookies, ginger bread men. 
  • Decorations that you see only once a year come out of storage: tree decorations, strings of lights. 
  • Christians crowding churches to hear the magical music and listen to the old, old story. 
There was more: on Christmas morning, kids creeping out of bed early and checking on what they can see under the tree. Families gathering, gifting each other, filling up on the cookies and relaxing.

Lots of good, fun stuff every year!

But the nurse’s family celebrates twice. I imagine that holds true for many Orthodox Christians living in many countries that officially celebrate on December 25, as well as Protestant and Roman Catholic Christians living in orthodox lands. Lucky are the kids in such families; they get presents twice!

Christmas is about giving. And, as President Calvin Coolidge said, it’s about an attitude. It’s about desiring peace, actively caring for other others. Above all, it’s about celebrating Jesus, who gave the biggest gift.  

Updating to 2017: Christmas is about giving the gift of goodwill to all and giving the gift of a a healthy planet to the next generation. That's the state of mind this blog-site, "Growing Green," recommends this Christmas.

If you celebrate twice, like the Ethiopian Orthodox Christian family I introduced above, you double your opportunity to give intentionally. 

Whether your family celebrates once or twice, keep that Christmas state of mind active all year, every year. That's the best gift you can give.

P.S.: a Christmas gift you can give: ask someone (a nurse?, a friend) about their favorite Christmas memory.)

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