Sometimes thoughts swirl through my mind so swiftly and unconnected that I can’t seem to clear a space for them to land so they may crystallize and become coherent. One such thought I’ve been having lately is about Christmas (I know it’s only October, but if I don’t start thinking about it now, it will be too late). If you are the wife and/or mother, then you know that the responsibility to make the magic happen falls squarely on your shoulders. But do we really need to strive to create a more magnificent Christmas? Last year, right around Christmas Eve, as I and all my other friends, were baking, wrapping, stringing, cleaning and trying to remain gracious I posted this on my Facebook wall:
“If you are looking for that one wondrous moment when everything is picture perfect and it finally “feels” like the Christmas you’ve been dreaming of – let it go. The most miraculous moment already happened long ago when Divinity was revealed to humankind through the birth of a baby – you are never going to top that, so don’t even try!”
But we do try don’t we? Hallmark, Norman Rockwell and Currier and Ives have painted a picture of Christmas for us and somehow we want that. Macy’s, Bloomingdales and Bergdorf Goodman have big plans for their balance sheets at the expense of our family budgets and they count on our felt need to create the perfect holiday so they distract us with shiny new everythings.
The truth is, I just want to stand on my rooftop and shout ENOUGH!!!!! I have a Savior who has set me free and out of my gratitude I will give to you. But I will not give you the latest electronic gadget you don’t need, and I will not buy trinkets and bobbles “just so I have something to give.” I am not going to forge through the mall in search of the perfect gift. The perfect gift was already given.
The problem is, I don’t know how to gracefully exit the ride. But it makes me feel dirty on the inside to think of spending another holiday exchanging material goods among friends and family who have everything they need while others go without. That does not reflect the mandate of scripture to care for the poor. And what better time to turn our gaze outward than Christmas, the season when we celebrate the gift of God to humanity? Don’t get me wrong. We have included donations to World Vision and other local charities in our yearly gift giving, but that no longer seems enough.
I’ve read books and listened to spiritual leaders give how-to lectures on simplifying or adding meaning to the holidays, but even those leave me cold. It’s just one more thing to add to my already too-full holiday repertoire. So I will continue to mull on this until an answer comes that speaks to my soul personally.
If there’s anybody out there who can speak wisdom to my searching heart, I’d love to hear it…