I love Christmas. I love everything about it. It has always been my favorite time of year.
As Monday-Sunday said, I even love the commercialism. I love the music, the decorations, the aluminum trees.
I don't like the commercialism that's all about selling me stuff. I don't like the idea that Christmas is for the saving of our economy. One last boost to our monetary system.
But I love the rest. I love looking at the lights. We are going to drive around and look tonight. I like the simple, elegant light displays. I also like the gaudy ones with everything crammed in that will fit. I like Santa and reindeer. I like goofy Christmas specials. I love the sappy movies. I like the emphasis on family and other loved ones.
I miss the old variety shows that always had their Christmas specials. Donnie and Marie and The Captain and Tennille. I miss Perry Como and Bing Crosby.
I love Cider and popcorn and Christmas cookies. I'd like to try things like a Christmas Goose and a Christmas pudding, but some people around here don't want me to. I love tradition. I love new and creative things. I love Christmas.
Of course the best part is what it represents. The fact that Christ came. Prophecies were fulfilled and God became man. But the truth is, this isn't the only part of Christmas for me. I think about those things all the time. God is the main part of my daily life and I don't need Christmas to remind me of what He did.
As people have pointed out to me; God didn't ask us to celebrate Christ's birth. That's true. But I'm sure He doesn't care that we do. Jesus loved a good celebration. His first miracle was making wine for goodness sake. He was criticized as being a glutton and a drunkard. So I think He's ok with the fact that we make a big deal of Christmas and feast and laugh and love and give good things to one another. He loves it! But I also don't think He would be terribly disappointed if Christmas went away. After all, as mentioned, it's not written in His word anywhere. I'm sure He cares more about how we live the rest of the year.
But anyway, all this to say that lately--the past two or three years—I have been having trouble getting excited about Christmas. I've had a hard time finding that joy and wonder and "Christmas spirit" that used to come so easily. I've been trying to figure out why and asking God to help me figure out how it can be different next year.
Last night while talking with a friend I realized where my Christmas discontentment is coming from. It's from the gift-giving. Now, I love giving gifts. It isn't that. But it is the fact that I am trying to find things for people who already have everything they want and way more than they need. My kids don't have all they want, of course, the want never ends for them. And that is part of my frustration. It is so hard to buy things for them when they have so much and yet they still want and want. I love them to pieces, but can't think of a thing that I really want to give them. That one special thing that would make their eyes light up and fill me with joy to give.
The adults in my life all get what they want whenever they want it. So what do I do?
I'm not sure. But it helps me to realize where the real frustration lies. I know we will do something to decrease the gift-buying next year. We have been telling the kids for several years that Christmas isn't about them and we have been buying fewer gifts each year. We let their birthdays be about them, and try to give the bulk of gifts then. But we still need to cut back more.
We'll figure something out. And I know that the solution is going to involve more giving of ourselves to those outside of our family. People who have real needs. People who know what it means to truly want. That's what my heart is telling me.