Oh, Christmas, you sorta slay me. On the one hand, I adore you – snow (real or otherwise), lights, pretty paper, surprises for those I love! On the other hand, you wear me completely to a frazzle – crowds, traffic, the pressure to find just the right surprise for every name on my list, and the nagging feeling that I can never do/be enough. That last little bit nags me other times of the year, of course, but it seems especially strong this time of year.
Then there’s the whole debate over the meaning of the holidays – merchandising efforts go into overdrive, which tends to make everybody think it’s ALL about buying/getting and/or topping last year’s buying/getting. The enormous tree in Rockefeller Center can no longer be called a “Christmas Tree” and now it seems even “Happy Holidays” is uncool because “Holiday” equals “Holy Day” which apparently goes full circle back to Christianity!
I’m going to be honest and say I am not a Christian. I do, however, have faith in a higher power – something that guides our lives toward the light… when we let it. I don’t think all this arguing over what to call the season or marketing of the latest doo-dad has much to do with living in the light and the truth is that all of the holy traditions – Judaism, Kwanza, Christianity, Paganism, maybe more I’m not even aware of – seem to be celebrating the same thing. That is, the miracle of light – being kind, living with honor, taking care of those we love and trusting in the possibility of miracles.
I sort of long for a time of year that I can truly call holy; a time when everyone is given a space of breathing room – to heal, to celebrate, to rest, to renew and plan for the future. A time when we just slow down a little, be a little kinder, send some love out – in thought and deed vs. retail acrobatics. Doesn’t matter your religion – it doesn’t get much holier than that!
With all that said, I do really love this time of year. I love being outside in the crisp, burning-wood-scented air, making and giving celebratory cards, baking yummy treats that I stubbornly refuse to make any other time of year (they wouldn’t be special if I made them all the time). I even love giving gifts – though, I’m never more grateful for the DVR and fast-forward button than I am at Christmas-time!