From my last post, you could tell that this year Christmas has been illusive for me. Its been more of a holiday depression than anything. I believe in the birth of a savior, born of a virgin, who later took on the sins of the world. So belief is not the problem, but then, what is my problem?
Frankly, I think I am. We are. People are. I’m a little too sensitive. Everything people say and the way they say it, gets lodged in my head and replays over and over. I can filter out people for whom I don’t have respect. That’s easy enough. But then what about the people you do respect when they completely contradict what you believe is true? Or worse, what about people who supposedly believe like you but have no respect for you?
We see this on Facebook often. “If you don’t share my post it means you hate Jesus!” and their post is a picture of Jesus – you know, the one where he looks like he’s strung out on dope. Or, if you dare say “Happy holidays!” you hate Jesus. Or, “if you tell your kids about Santa you are teaching nothing but lies, and we celebrate the REAL meaning of Christmas!”
That’s just on Facebook. Other pressures come from family that have expectations about when to have dinner or how much or how little you should spend. Our children have expectations about making cookies, shopping, lists for Santa, and when to put up the tree. There are school parties and room moms expect you to donate tubs of frosting, volunteer time and send in money. Office parties mean making crockpots of breakfast casserole, hoping (praying) for a bonus this year, and cards and candy for co-workers.
I know I’m not telling you anything you didn’t already know. My point is, the level of expectations out there is insane. As a working parent of several kids I have juggled all this as best i could for several years and I’ve usually at least made a passing grade as a human at Christmas time. At least the tongue clucking hasn’t reached me yet and most years I never seem to get the Christmas cards mailed.
I’m very experienced at the expectations game… Until this year. This year I realized that some of those other people that have it all down and shout at others for not knowing the “reason for the season” may say all the right things but they missed the point of the reason when it comes to actually loving others.
BINGO! That’s it right there. There are some people that have all the right words but live their own agenda, not pure love. The incongruency has had my mind darting back and forth until it swallowed me in a depression because there is no way to justify it.
I found the baby, the baby Jesus. He gave his life, his agenda, his heavenly traditions, his casseroles, his shopping trips, his decorations, his family dinners, cookie making parties, EVERYTHING … for love. He left all the comforts of his life in heaven to come here for us.
Last Sunday, during an excellent sermon that spoke truth and grace in equal measures, I felt like I could hear Jesus tell me “Don’t celebrate Christmas! Celebrate ME! The rest is just fun stuff.”
Maybe this is just a rewording of “Jesus is the reason,” but this time it came from a pure source. Love was there. True, free, altruistic love.
This morning I drove my kids to school for the last day before break. They were excited about parties and a special field trip and two weeks of free time. My youngest has the flu and I have been pre-occupied. Then it occurred to me like a smack in the face: I never got gifts for their teachers and the bus driver! What would they think? They would think we don’t care about them! And then I remembered: “Celebrate ME! , Not Christmas.” The rest is all for fun. All for fun.
I watched a video the other day of a group singing about the manger scene. They showed hundreds of angels celebrating that baby. I got choked up and teary eyed. I think I found my Christmas spirit.
Angels We Have Heard on High – The Piano Guys, Pe…: http://youtu.be/ELjgFKACcdQ