So it’s Christmas, who cares? Well, Wal-Mart, Target, Nordstrom, Christmas Tree lots, Party Stores, people who charge to hang lights on your house, and about 10,000 other businesses.
Still, pretty much everybody loves Christmas. Except maybe… some single adults who have said to me, “I’d like to go to sleep on Thanksgiving Day and wake up the day after New Years.” Or, alcoholics and addicts I know who say, “I’d like to get loaded Thanksgiving Day and sober up the day after New Years.”
I guess not everyone is looking forward to Santa, the lights and Christmas trees, presents and celebrating the birth of Jesus. For many it’s a time of great emotional pain. For others sometimes it’s just a pain! Who cares?
Who Cares? Truthfully, We All Do! Even Us Curmudgeons!
Just a few days ago Pam said that our 22-year-old son, Austin, wanted to put the Christmas tree in the family room instead of the living room. Uuuugh! For some reason I just didn’t want any part of it. In a moment of frustration I told her that she and Austin could do whatever they wanted but leave me out of it. I was sick of the holidays. Too much stuff to have to put up only to take down in a few weeks.
The look on her face let me know she disagreed (putting it very nicely). I just walked away frustrated. But, as you can guess, I slept on it and woke up with a different attitude. It hit me: The holidays are not about me!!! They’re about the people I love. Christmas is about everyone I come into contact with this special time of year. It’s about fun and love and giving and being nice for crying out loud, if even for a few weeks.
In the U.S. Christmas usually is a time when we are intentionally a different kind of people. With the birth of Jesus narrative underlying the whole thing, it is a time to give and forgive, to accept other’s frailties, and especially a time to be special with our families. Even if we don’t feel like it.
The spirit of Christmas is a choice. We gotta choose to celebrate and be nice. Hell, a few weeks of being nice ain’t gonna kill us.
But what about the people who don’t believe in Jesus the same way that Christian-kind-of-people do? People like Muslims and Buddhists and Jews and others. There are many people that aren’t into Jesus but they’re really into Christmas. In fact, it’s popular in Christian circles to complain that these people have stolen Christmas and made it into something else entirely.
They’ve changed it from a religious holiday into a totally secular one, one with love and kindness and trees and lights and presents and a whole bunch of other really cool stuff. Huh? What’s wrong with all that? I love it! And I’m one of those Christian-kind-of-people.
The answer for me is easy. I simply celebrate two holidays: Christmas (with lights and trees and presents) and Advent (with humble adoration of the birth of the person I call the Christ). I can do both at once. You can do it entirely your own way. Celebrate one or the other or both.
Or… you can get drunk and sleep through it. Too bad.
Remember, there’s enough love out there to go around for all of us. Even if the time is too emotional, too much pain (or guilt), or you’re just an old curmudgeon like me – you can choose. I know that sometimes it’s not easy. Do it anyway.
But, please, make a choice for love and acceptance and peace. It’s only for a few weeks—shoot, you can fake your way through it if need be. And, oddly, after faking it for a while you’ll find that it becomes real.
So what about you? I’m really curious. What does Christmas mean to you? Give me a comment. I guarantee I will read it.