I hate Christmas.
Oops. Did I really just say that? Yeah, I did. I absolutely hate Christmas.
I’m sure all of you cheery, festive (and now horrified) types just flipped the page to read this month’s recipe submissions, but for those of you intrigued – and perhaps cynical – enough to stick around, let me explain.
I used to love everything about Christmas. The music, the food, the festivities, the decorations – it was all such fun! December was my favorite time of year. Fa La La! Ho Ho Ho!
However, the last two Christmases for me have been nightmares. The older I get, the busier and less enjoyable this holiday becomes. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s, I’m irritable and cranky, and my eyelid actually twitches from all the stress. I wore all black on Christmas Day last year. On purpose. All of our Christmas decorations were back in the attic by December 27 because I was so ready for this blasted holiday to be over.
Why is it that we, as a society, choose one month out of every year to cram in all of our social events, bake too much, eat too much, spend too much, cover every room in our homes with green and red, send mail to every living soul we’ve ever known, elbow hordes of people in the aisles of Target in order to buy gifts for every family member and teacher and friend – most of which they neither want nor need – all the while expecting ourselves and others to sing and be happy and merry and cheerful? It seems that every year my holiday to-do list gets longer and longer, my calendar is completely filled, and I can never anticipate everything that needs to be done.
Is this really how God wants us to celebrate Emmanuel?
I admit I have turned completely cynical about the entire holiday. It makes me nauseous just thinking about it. Last summer, my kids were watching a Mickey Mouse Christmas DVD, and I swear my eyelid started twitching again! I dread December.
Um, hello? Jenn? Remember Me? Remember what I said? Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8
Let me assure you that I am determined for this year to be different. My husband has scheduled (four months ago) a day off from work in the middle of December. We have whittled down the number of business-related Christmas parties we will attend to ONE. We have already made our gift list and will enjoy one-stop shopping at Jake’s Loft. I will start baking and freezing this week. I will breathe. I will be thankful. I will be merry. I will sleep. (If I don’t, the Hunt family will be forced to boycott the entire holiday season next year. Since I really prefer to keep to a minimum the amount of therapy my kids will someday require, I think I’ll just try to enjoy myself and my family and dodge the boycott.)
I can’t avoid much of what is “required” of me at Christmas, but I can change my perspective on why we do what we do. It does, after all, come back to an eternal gift and God’s promise fulfilled. It’s about sharing the extravagant love and joy first given to us. It’s all very simple. Theoretically. I’m still baffled and annoyed by how we make it so complicated, but maybe this year will be different. Maybe I’ll actually fa-la-la and ho-ho-ho without a single twitch of the eyelid.