As we walked towards home yesterday on our afternoon walk I saw a familiar car pull up at the mail box. A neighbor got out of the car and rather grumpily got his mail and looked through it. I called out greetings and he sort of smiled. He is one of our nicest neighbors but it would seem he was having a bad day. As X. and I got closer I noticed something strange. Pouring out of his car was “Wonderful Christmastime” by Paul McCartney. How can you be grumpy when listening to the Christmas music of the synthesizer age?
We walked into our home and warmed up our bodies. I light a candle to bring light into the home and put on a little background music. I am purposefully trying to avoid the Christmas grumps this year. They seem to have struck my neighborhood early and I’m determined to avoid that pull of anxiety and despair. It’s not easy. People want to pull you into it with them. When I bought toothpaste at my local drug store yesterday I heard the Cashier’s lament about the holidays, when running into friends I hear their despair over friends and family. It’s easy to slip into patterns. To start saying ‘you’re so right I’m ridiculously busy’. But saying your busy and despairing over the holidays doesn’t encourage the enjoyment of them. I love this season. I love seeing people and being with them. I want to embrace the holiday season and enjoy it.
Would you like to join me in beating the Christmas grumps? Every time we’re tempted to complain let’s think of one thing we really like about the season. If we’re stressed about presents and costs let’s set limits on what we will spend. If we’re worried about getting baking done and having the house clean let’s buy some cookies and realize that friends don’t care if our homes are spotless, they care about us. Christmas is not about to-do lists and obligations, Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Christ.
If you think about it, the first Christmas wasn’t organized, it was messy. Mary gave birth in a stable surrounded by animals. The shepherds ran in from the fields with excitement. They wouldn’t have stopped at the nearest inn to freshen up. There was excitement and joy because of the arrival of Jesus. Worry about how things looked or what needed to get done was not part of the equation.
Let’s embrace the holidays this year with a sense of excitement. We’re getting ready to celebrate the moment that God entered our midst. Surely this is something to be joyful about. Surely we can have a wonderful Christmastime if we remember that.