I joked all week at the weather report that God must be really pissed about Christmas this year….they called for a NASTYNASTY rainy and blustery day on Christmas day, bookended by beautiful days. So weird. But, looking out the window right now, they were totally right…it’s pouring and windy and gross and it sounds very tornadic. They are even calling for thunderstorms this afternoon. So, maybe God’s finally had enough of our consumerism and desire for huge, showy productions and displays that we seem to think will absolve us of the fact that we spend the rest of the year pretending like He doesn’t exist. I know, that’s a downer, but I got to thinking…every time I hear someone say “remember the reason for the season” I get a little irritated. If “He” was the real reason for the season, there wouldn’t be all of this crap. There would be contemplation, reflection, prayer, thanksgiving, and outreach…not crowded stores full of people muscling each other out of the way to get the last “Zhu Zhu” Hamster thing or whatever the hell it’s called. There wouldn’t be having to make sure that the Christmas cards are better than everyone else’s were last year. There wouldn’t be the five million commitments and the “you have to bring a fifteen dollar gift to the party…and it better be something that people will actually want.”
There would be feet to the pavement. There would be feeding the poor. There would be donating to animal shelters. There would be homeless animal adoptions. There would be giving gifts, real gifts, to people in need. There would be loving your neighbor. There would be time spent together, not in “sanctioned, structured events,” but in simple gatherings to eat together and share the year’s joys…and maybe even sorrows.
This year, we cut back on commitments, and we are giving handmade gifts (with two exceptions which I can’t blog about yet). I have to be honest, it’s liberating to let go of the “trappings” of the season…I don’t know that our focus has been perfect, in fact, probably far from it, but it’s easier to focus on the “reason” when there are fewer distractions vying for attention.
Before next Chrismas, make a list of what you normally do each year. Then, take a long, hard look at it and think about whether or not it is consistent with your faith, with why you celebrate. If it’s not, change it until it is, or try to cut it out entirely. It doesn’t have to mean a boring and uneventful holiday. And, it may just give you new focus and meaning when you tell someone, “Merry Christmas.”
God bless us, everyone.