Friday, November 21, 2008

Christmas conundrum

Since I am a follower and seeker after Christ, it would make sense logically that Christmas would be this wonderful, happy, joyous season that I was glad for in my heart.

I try to get there.

With a few exceptions, I try not to talk about how I feel about Christmas really. Because unless you feel really happy about Christmas, people don't usually want to listen to the belly-achin', and I can say that's honest. I love Easter, and I don't really want people to be bringin Easter down, rather I would like that they could just enjoy it, and put problems aside for a day.

What that amounts to is not talking about some things that cast a shadow on an otherwise beautiful season. And that creates a hollowness to the season that can be hard to deal with.

For better or worse, I associate Christmas with alot of stress. Being in the right place at the right time, with the right gift for everyone perfectly wrapped and good food and good spirits and just being cool with everything even though you have no money and the expectation sometimes gets burdensome as is the guilt that accompanies. I can be honest and say that when my family divorced, Christmas ceased to be fun. When I married stepchildren in another state, Christmas didn't get any easier.

This pic to show that I am aware of how I may sound to some.

And since wandering around all season pouting or whining and puling isn't an option, I am left with the other option of finding a way to make the best.

This year, and for the past couple years, each year I am revealed something new that kind of redeems Christmas a little bit for me, makes the nervous twitches subside, allays the nausea and dread.

How I started to not dread Christmas

I always felt bad about not liking Christmas. Can you beat that? Feeling bad and then feeling guilty about it? What a flippin mess. Small wonder I tried to not talk about it. I still try not to talk about it, but since I feel like I have found some solutions, don't want them to escape.

I read Philip Yancey's book The Jesus I never Knew. In his book he shines light on aspects of Jesus that I never really thought much about before. He didn't say this, but today when I look at Jesus under this new light I see something amazing, even more amazing than a cute little baby that was the son of God. It is God's planning of all this. I can't pretend I know what God thinks, but I imagine him thinking "They will never believe in me unless they can see and know that I am real and that I love them," and so he created a form of himself as a human. Not some big strong charismatic powerful male figure, as we might think of God, like a celebrity a la Barack Obama or larger than life like Genghis Khan, but as a little baby.

A fragile little baby who could do nothing for himself as he arrived on earth. I guess because I am a mom of a newborn, this image touches me. It is like when we talk to little kids, we ask them questions that we might already know the answer to, not because we want to know the answer, but to engage them, because we love them. The idea that God, the creator loves humanity that much, in fact as much as I love my little girls, arrives as a newborn child to an unwed teenage mom...hmmm. Does life get any more tenuous or delicate and fragile than that?

When came upon this in my own heart, I felt differently about Christmas.

There are more reasons why I feel differently about Christmas, but I will go into them next time.