For at least the western world, the 24th of December is the day of the year when our materialistic reaction to the void reaches its zenith. This reaction permeates and dominates our existence throughout the year but at Christmas time we engage in an orgy of spending that is the supreme effort to fill the void in our lives with all the gifts money can buy.
We can try to disguise it in swaddling clothes or dress it up in an warm red suit but the real story of Christmas is how much more than last year did we spend. Increased spending is seen as a "godsend" to retailers. It is interpreted by economists as a sign of confidence in our god, the economy. Religious leaders view it as evidence of greater "good will toward men". However, the simple, sad truth is that we have to spend more money, for regardless of the ways we try, when trying to fill the void more will never be enough.
No amount of spending nor any effort to recapture the "true meaning" of any celebration around this time of year will bring "peace on earth". Only by reaching out to the limits of our capacities, to others and to God will we enjoy throughout the year the gifts of life we receive with this ideal reaction to the void.