It is almost Christmas Day. The church is pretty with garlands and Poinsettias. The music at Sligo has been great. The Christmas lights are so beautiful, and the stores look lovely with red and green decorations.
Here comes a confession that is sure to subject this writer to “smart” remarks and some criticism. I am not into Christmas, never have been. No, I am not related to Ebenezer Scrooge or the Grinch. Don’t misunderstand. I enjoy getting presents for the people I care about and it gives me pleasure to give the service people in my life a tip or bonus this time of year, but my Christmas spirit just about ends there.
I know all the reasons I should like Christmas. I have heard them since childhood and, more importantly, I believe them. What I do not like, is how Christmas feels.
It is one big rush to get everything done by December 25. We try so hard to get gifts the recipients will like and actually use; and when our imagination fails us, we resort to gift cards. We write numerous Christmas cards and every year I find that I have twenty more people on my list than I have cards. How to decide who gets chopped off the list?
We have the mandatory office celebrations to which we must bring a dish, not to mention every other group to which you belong. You have to plan the perfect Christmas meal or at least the dish you will contribute. Here it is mid-December, and I have not made a single cookie. I need to make ten varieties. I have at least two groups of kids who expect cookies at Christmas. Cannot disappoint them. Cannot disappoint anyone. Yikes!
Then you have things to do like volunteer shifts with Health and Human services and writing blogs for church online newsletters. Christmas becomes a huge pot of stress.
And here is the thing; you do all this and December 25 dawns like a lead balloon. Rather anticlimactic. The day does not always live up to its expectation. I completely get Scrooge.
According to the National Institute of Health, Christmas is the time of year that people experience the highest incidence of depression. Wow! In this season when we hear countless variations of “Ring Christmas Bells” and “Jingle Bells?”
Maybe we need to change our focus. Maybe, just maybe, not one of our loved ones needs another gift purchased at the mall or from Amazon. Do you really need another “thing?” For many of us the answer is no.
Maybe this is the year the entire family pools a portion of its Christmas money and make a contribution to the budget booster fund or one of the other church ministries. Or maybe, you send the money to Adventist Community Services to help the people who lost everything in the explosion at the Flower Branch Apartments. Have you seen ADRA’s Really Useful Gift Catalog? Your family can buy another family a goat or some chickens. Now that family can have milk or eggs. Or you can make a gift basket for a family you know cannot afford much more than the very basics.
That should help bring back the Christmas cheer. Think about it.