(My latest article for the Courier Herald)
“So,” she said, “I’m sure glad that’s over.”
“Glad what’s over,” I responded, though I suspected I knew what she was talking about.
“Christmas!” she exclaimed, “I’m glad Christmas is over.”
“Oh, well, technically it isn’t really over,” I chortled. “It will be back next year at approximately the same time.”
“I mean for this year, it’s over for this year. You knew what I meant.”
“You didn’t like Christmas this year?” I asked. “What didn’t you like about it?”
“Oh I liked Christmas mostly, but I’m glad it’s past so I can get on with my life.”
“Wow, I’ve got to say I’m a little surprised to hear you say that. You actually get tired of celebrating the coming of God to earth in the form of a baby boy? That would seem to be something to celebrate all year around.”
“No, not that,” she spoke rather indignantly. “I like that part, I love that part. It’s all the other stuff. It’s the having to buy presents for people, it’s having to decorate the house, and then there is all the children’s programs to attend, and everyone seems to want me to stop by for egg nog; ugh, egg nog.
“And it’s expensive, getting stuff for all the people on my list costs a lot; and it’s time consuming. It’s having to get the list together and going out in the weather to busy malls and stores. It means fighting all the people doing the same thing to get the bargains. You’re being intentionally obtuse. You know what I mean.” She was showing signs of frustration which was probably caused by the holiday season, or maybe it was me, yeah, it probably was me; though I’m not so sure what the word obtuse means.
“Christmas is a lot of work. You know that, you’ve been through a couple hundred of them,” she said glaring at me and smirking somewhat caustically. It was becoming obvious to me that the ‘hap-hap-happiest season of all’ had taken a toll on her.
“Maybe you’re doing it wrong,” I said, treading where angels would fear to go. “But then again, maybe not. Maybe you are doing it just right, maybe it’s supposed to be challenging and demanding. Maybe sacrificing for the people you love is what Christmas is supposed to be.”
“What? You know your sermons confuse me sometimes, but you’re coming off the tracks now. I’d have thought you’d think Christmas was all light and blessing.” Her eyes had fire in them and there were little bits of froth at the corner of her mouth.
“No, really.” I was trying to be conciliatory; honestly. “If you think about it, Christmas wasn’t easy for God either. His coming to earth in human form was all about sacrificially giving Himself for people; us specifically. And expensive; you talk about spending some money as if you gave it all. Which, by the way, is exactly what He did. Maybe, just maybe, your giving up your valuable time and your treasures to bless other people was exactly what Christmas is supposed to be about. Maybe that is the heart of the matter.
“Maybe it’s supposed to leave us a bit physically and emotionally drained. If we are attempting to imitate His giving how could it be any other way? Maybe it’s only our reaction to being sacrificial that is the problem. Maybe,” yes I know I’ve used that word a lot but forgive me, “maybe rather than being glad it’s over we should be glad we were able to do it. The Bible says that we should not grow weary in doing good.” I was probably being obtuse again but I couldn’t help myself. “Were people blessed by your giving of yourself; of your spending your treasures and time and maybe even having egg nog with them? They were. You know they were. Anytime we give of ourselves it’s going to cost us but it is a blessing to those who receive.”
“Hmm,” she said. “ I guess I’ll rest a bit and start planning for next year seeing as Christmas is not really over.”
God’s blessings dear reader. See you in church.