Play this while reading. It will help.
So, mentally, I know it’s Christmas time. All the household signs are there, the baking ingredients piled on top of the fridge, the piles of shipping boxes saved for…y’know…shipping stuff. The tree is up, and I even put ornaments on it this year! For the last 2 years ornaments were eschewed in favor of the
lack of enthusiasm simplicity of colored lights. Seriously. I just didn’t feel like putting baubles on it. So anyway, the head is there, but the heart still isn’t quite into it.
I remember as a teen, singing in the community choir (Handel’s Messiah, and assorted carols), playing in a brass quartet that would show up in random places (the hospital parking lot, nursing homes, the city parking deck…amazing acoustics there) and play carols. It wasn’t an organized group, just 4 friends with brass instruments and too much free time. That was fun. These events contributed mightily to the sense of holiday and delight in it all.
Then Himself and I married and (almost immediately) started having kids, which also made for a lot of fun and Good Cheer. y’know, arguing over who gets to put the train set together and whether or not the Tonka trucks should be wrapped or left out. We never made a big deal out of the whole Santa thing, threats of losing out due to bad behavior seemed a little disingenuous, not to mention the idea of it being ok for a strange man to come into the house at night, but only once a year. Not a fan of that idea. However, cookies, or a beer, or (later on, after the kids caught on) a scotch and a cigar, were left out.
Now, upon inquiring, it seems the boys all want practical stuff. One of them even asked for socks and Tupperware. I stared at him for that. He sighed and said “Yep, Mom. That would make me happy.” This showed me, more than anything else, that this family NEEDS grandkids. We NEED someone here to get all spooled up over train sets and sock monkeys and those giant candy canes.
Fortunately, #3 and The New Girl are working on that, and by Christmas next year (God willing), there will be a 6 month old baby who will squeal over boxes and bows and plenty of adults (this will be First Grandchild for both families) to overcompensate for the lack of young-un’ in recent years.
Right now, though? Philosophically there are issues. I am just not that into it. Oh sure, the idea of God incarnate, and His decision to come down here as Man and live amongst us, suffer the indignities, all that…wonderful stuff, there. But honestly that is more of a daily wonder type thing, not a once a year celebration. Same with His death and resurrection, it’s not just an Easter thing, but a daily one. but that whole ‘Tis The Season!’ and Bells! and the excitement I remember feeling 30+ years ago….am I getting old? Is it because at this point Christmas has been done 49 times and seems to come every 3-4 months instead of 12? What’s up with that?
One thing that I know has changed, and I really like this part, is that it is so much more fun thinking about how someone will react to a gift that NAILED IT….just the right thing, knowing it is absolutely NOT expected…than it is shaking the boxes with my name on them and wondering what’s inside. Honestly, I have all the stuff I want. I am kind of excited (as much as I can be, given circumstances) about most of us being together for a whole day, munching on all the shi…er…stuff….all those tasty tasty nibbles all day long, watching movies, playing board games, being a family with no expectations of whatever it is….
That is one thing I deeply appreciate about all our kids. They know how to kick back and have fun, set aside whatever bickering or nonsense, and just sit around and enjoy each other’s company. We all know each other’s situations, so there are no hurt feelings if someone didn’t spend money (they don’t have in the first place) to get someone else a gift (they didn’t need in the first place). It ain’t about that. It never was meant to be. I have a lot of resentment toward our society that places such expectations out there. Oh don’t get me wrong, I like a gift as much as the next person….but still. For the last 2 months we have been told that it is necessary to SPEND SPEND SPEND for….what? What reason? to be liked?
This went a different direction that I expected it to.
Anyway. Christmas. Wah hoo, y’all. Enjoy it, minimize the mess that says it’s all about Stuff, and make it about spending time with the people you love, remembering the whole point of it all, that is, that God, who made everything, lived among us as a Man and even had to be born just like the rest of us. That’s pretty incredible, if you think about it.