“It’s almost Christmas, and I’ve never felt less Christmasy in my life!” ~ Unknown
Feeling ‘Christmasy’ . . . what exactly is THAT all about? It’s as if everyone thinks they have to be on a constant diet of happiness, good cheer, and go go go for several weeks before Christmas. When in tarnation did that start? I remember as a kid, we were thrilled with a small table-top tree with one or two gifts apiece. There weren’t light displays on houses, but you could look in windows and see the trees lit up or occasionally there would be a home with lighted candles in the windows. It seems like the 80’s with the BIG everything – big hair, big shoulderpads in clothing, big make-up, bigger than life movie stars — was the catalyst for making Christmas bigger and better every year.
In Kansas City, the Plaza Lighting ceremony was the go-to place on Thanksgiving night. To stand in the crowd and watch the lights that decorated the entire outside shopping area suddenly come on — at the time it was mind boggling. Now it is passe’; you can see similar displays in housing divisions all over. What was once a special one-of-a-kind thing is now available to any and everybody and it has stolen the “special” out of it.
Gift giving used to be from the heart. Now it seems to be a type of “keeping up with the Jones’s” event. One or two simple gifts has turned into multiple high-cost gifts that create stress as parents, friends and lovers want to make their loved ones happy but feel pressured to spend more than what they can perhaps afford. Common sense has gone out the window and Christmas has become an overwhelmingly commercial time of sights, sounds, ideas and smells. We have strayed so far from the original Christmas miracle of a baby born — fully human, and fully holy.
Think of it . . . I doubt the Virgin Mary was feeling ‘Christmasy’ herself. Nine months pregnant, married to a man who had not fathered the child she was about to push into the world. Carrying the weight of the angel’s proclamation in her heart, having only told her cousin Elizabeth. Let me assure you that at nine months of pregnancy, you are uncomfortable in any position, let alone getting of and on a donkey frequently. Forty weeks along, it’s a miracle if you can go longer than an hour without having to pee. So here she is . . . as big as a house or a small beached whale, probably with swollen ankles from her feet hanging down, bumping along a road on a donkey, headed to a town due to a royal decree, unsure of where she’ll stay or who will help her with the baby. Yes, she had Joseph with her, however, in that day and age, men did not deliver babies. She more than likely had a backache that just would not stop with some cramping thrown in for good measure. You come dragging into town after several days on the road, sore, exhausted and wanting to rest your ass anywhere but ON an ass and everywhere you turn there is no comfortable room available and all you want to do is LAY DOWN. For those who have not delivered a child, labor and birth is hard work requiring focus and sheer grit to push another human out of your body — no pressure. I’m fairly certain she wasn’t concerned with pretty lights or parties or even cared that she finally got to lie down in a stable but I’m betting it was plenty warm with the heat emanating from the animals in the stable (if not a wee bit smelly).
The past few years have worn on everyone – emotionally, financially, physically. The pandemic, business closures, presidential elections, inflation, job losses, vacinnation pressures, masks, loss of friends and family. Is it any wonder that any of us ARE feeling Christmasy? We’ve all experienced loss and life changes — and things will not be the same, yet we push through trying to celebrate a holiday as if nothing has changed. Denial at it’s finest. I gave up on the over-the-top celebration of an event that had such humble beginnings. I decorate the house because I like it but the decor is inside where I see it. I buy gifts within reason; each of the kids gets 4 things that comes in a rhyme: Something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read.
I feel that Christmas is a season of which we’ve forgotten the why — it’s about the greatest gift ever created. It’s okay to acknowledge and appreciate the season, and at the same time acknowledge the changes that may have occurred in the past year. Amy Grant summed it up perfectly in her song “Til the Season Comes Round Again.”
From the Road Back Home, I’d like to wish you a Merry Christmas. Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. Enjoy your friends and family this holiday season and know that you are loved!!