I loved the Christmas season when I was a kid. All the lights and garland, the anticipation, the parties and baked goods, the random family you get see. I remember feeling like it was always a magical time.
At some point in time, I lost the wonder and got jaded (surprising no one). Maybe it comes with growing up, learning the actual dynamics of family get togethers, eating healthier (I lost my sweet tooth sometime too…topic for another blog) or realizing you don’t really need anything and you suck at buying gifts. Working in retail will definitely make you re-interpret your feelings about the holidays. Now I find myself being more of a Scrooge than a Tiny Tim.
I felt pretty comfortable in my “bah-humbug-ness” until relatively recently. I sat smugly on my seat of judgement, looking down on those who embrace the hustle and bustle, who spend more money than they have, or who take advantage of those people spending on credit, who decorate everything with garland and holy leaves (please no more holy), and who adopt a chipper attitude for 4 to 6 weeks a year (hear I go again…). It seems silly to pick a month to be joyful and giving. And add the so called “culture wars” on top of that. “Keep the Christ in Christmas!” Do they want pictures of baby Jesus on the Starbucks cups? And vise-versa, do people want to completely ignore that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus?
I digress. So there I was on my judgment seat…
I was judging the people who also come by their love of December honestly. They enjoy the music, the lights, the people everywhere, out because they want to give. The joy, the idea that there is a time of year that we reflect on remember on what is near and dear to us and celebrate that.
I have been coming to grips with a problem I have. Well, let’s be honest, I have a lot of problems (judgement seat included). This particular problem is an aversion to celebration. I find it hard to celebrate what God has done in my life, or the many, MANY, blessings I have. I find it hard to celebrate holidays (my favorites are leap day and election day….). Some of this aversion comes from the reasons listed above. Some of it comes from my world view. I like to call myself a negative-realist. Some may say pessimist, agree to disagree. Its hard for me to look at things and not see where they are weak or need improvement. And when you see the negative, its hard to celebrate.
But even the the exercise of writing all these thoughts out, how see how utterly controlling and hopeless it is to sit up on that judgement seat, to say that I know what works best, and what the best intentions are, and what is worth getting excited about and celebrating. If we all went with what I thought was worth celebrating, well, we wouldn’t have a lot of parties. And even fewer holidays.
There is a lot to celebrate this Christmas. Another year of God’s grace to me. A community of people that are more like family than friends. I have everything I need and a lot of things I don’t. And I have hope. Hope that even in its brokenness, that the celebration around me is not in vain, but a taste of the celebration we will all share one day in its perfection. That broken things are used to point us to the great mender, who can fix even my jaded spirit and grow my heart three sizes.
So if you share in my holiday blues, don’t avoid the brokenness, but celebrate with me in the good. If nothing else, celebrate that we have a God who loves us so much that he came down among us, in all this broken mess, so that we may know Him.