I am Scrooge. I really don’t like the holidays. They make no sense to me. Lets start with Thanksgiving. Now I realize that this started with the Pilgrims and Indians, but do you think that those Native Americans would have invited some people to a 3 day gnosh if they would have had foresight to see what was going to happen? Then to rub it in, Abe Lincoln makes it a national holiday. Every year we gather and kill some bird and gobble millions of sweet potatoes and unbutton our pants in a football and tyrosine induced slumber. We even tease Turkeys with the holiday. Our President pardons some unknowing bird. We stick extra legs on it and display it at football games. Then we gather and argue about the stuffing. We save up all year to vent hostility when the gravy is a bit runny. Its beautiful.
Then, let’s go to Christmas, which starts immediately after Halloween, as far as I can tell. The expectations and performance starts about then as well. How do we squeeze in all of our traditions, parties, and cookie baking? Then we add the necessary components, Black Friday, Internet Monday, ugly sweater contests, one more party, one more concert, one more last minute gift or card. Then we pretend that sugar plums dance in our head, and we know what they are. It is too bad we stack the deck against ourselves like that. We live in a world of dreams and possibilities and instead of running on those clouds, we trudge through the mud of expectations and duties.
So, it was with that bias that I decided to ignore the holidays this year. I had made up my mind not to watch my favorite videos. I wasn’t going to hang lights. I wasn’t going to send or receive any cards. Nothing. My kids have refused to see me this year. I felt defeated. The parental alienation seems to be winning. I have prayed and begged and dreamed of a Christmas miracle. I have asked for help. I have read books. I have persevered. I have sent out the message in a bottle and found millions of bottles washed upon my shore. Alas, Christmas is not for me this year, I figured.
Something inside of me moved. I got a little fired up about letting my Christmas be stolen from me. The ex already violently stole my kids from me, undermined my efforts to find a job, embezzled money, cashed in my credit card points, segregated me from friends, family and my church. I couldn’t let her also take my Christmas. I figured I would put up my Christmas tree. It is maybe 3 feet tall and really campy. I have hung a red ball on the top and bent it over slightly to remind me of the Peanuts Christmas special. I figured it was a minimalist approach. Well, I couldn’t do that without my colored chili lights, now could I? The Christmas village had to be displayed, well most of it. I did not put out the church, still kinda angry, I guess. I also had to put out some lights on the front porch of my new house. I went colors instead of the warm white I had done for years. OK, now I have to watch, “The Year Without a Santa Claus.” I told myself, “Its ok, just don’t giggle or sing along.” I did both. I did both and then sent out some Christmas cards. I ordered some presents online. I prayed again. This time I prayed for healing of my ex, my daughters, and for me. I prayed for healing for my lost friends. I prayed for forgiveness where I hurt those around me by being a victim. I prayed that I live into the moment, letting the past go and the future yet to be. I prayed for those who spoke ill of me or treated me badly. I prayed for the pastor who turned his back on our friendship and my heart. I prayed.
I still don’t like Christmas. The truth is that I don’t like what I made Christmas to be. I don’t like the pomp and circumstance. I don’t like the regalia. I don’t like the expectations. But, I like MY Christmas. The joy of growth!