Tired, overwhelmed, maxed-out shoppers. People trying to “get everything done.” Kitchen overload (at least here in the land o’ food, south Louisiana). Choirs and choir directors ramping up for Christmas, wondering why the season with the best music is also one of the shortest liturgical seasons.
Hot chocolate, giftwrap and Hallmark Christmas movies. NOW we’re talking…
Thursday’s end-of-workday chatter focused on Hallmark Christmas movies. My husband has seen every one of them (more than once). I’ve managed to see quite a few, and it seems that quite a few of the folks at work watch them, too.
Sappy? Sentimental? Trite? Formula? Who cares? Christmas movies (Hallmark and otherwise) remind us that we humans yearn for happy endings.
Christmas, though, is a season of happy beginnings.
There are many people who struggle with depression during the holiday season. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s…all are milestones, and the years are marked by memories. Family gatherings can be joyful – or bring out the friction. We hear endless talk about “the reason for the season,” yet live in a world where many people hesitate to show faith.
Well, heck. I say Merry Christmas (unless I’m singing at the Temple or texting my adopted brother, in which case the greeting is a sincere Happy Hanukkah, and this year the dates coincide.) We can bemoan the “commercialization” of Christmas ‘til the cows come home (OK, cornball manger metaphor there), but there is a big commercial element, like it or not.
I refuse to moan. I take joy in giving, and remind myself to receive gratefully and to not wonder if my gift in turn was “good enough.” My white tree #1 is turning a bit…yellowish. The popsicle stick and gold glitter Star of David made by one of my children in first grade (they each did that craft, and I don’t know whose star is up there this year) is my tree-topper, which I find very appropriate. It’s not Home & Garden, but it is spiritually and biblically satisfying. I don’t expect much holiday company, but if they show up, they will be offered whatever’s in the fridge – probably chocolate cashew milk or red wine – and whatever leftovers are hanging around. In other words, “treated like home folk.”
As for old memories – well, we can be sad by what is gone, or we can rejoice in what is. And what IS is…
…God incarnate, man divine. Jesus, the miraculous fusion of God and human, relatable to us AS us. Savior for all, way-shower for a path of love and our guide to the kingdom of heaven. We are reminded, with the passing of the winter solstice and the celebration of the birth of Christ, that light returns. We look around, see our fellow humans’ (and our own) best and worst sides all on full display around the holidays, and make a concerted effort to find the good because hey, it’s Christmas. We deal with our own struggles in life and keep rooting for the underdog in the spiritual and global war of good versus evil. Sometimes we wonder who or what is winning.
Christmas, though, reminds us that there is always a new beginning. Christ is born, and we can welcome His changing power of love in our hearts, and His healing presence when we are overwhelmed with doing too much or remembering too much. When we welcome the Christ Child fully into our hearts and lives, the question of “which side is winning” becomes a no-brainer.
This is better than a Hallmark movie, because it’s real. In the end, love always wins.
I wish you all the miracles of Christmas.