|Another Blue Christmas|
Confession time: while I love Christmas, it’s the whole season and not the day that puts joy in my heart. The day itself is kind of depressing because the anticipated feast is consumed and gifts are revealed, bringing the celebration to a sudden end—especially if the people in your family turn their attention to their electronic gadgets and cease to participate in your festivities. On the next day, no holiday music will be played in stores or on the radio. Christmas lights lose their magic. There’s nothing left to anticipate ... unless you have more family to visit. Around December 22, I start to dread the looming end of the Christmas season!
When the children were young, I could make Christmas Day last all day long. When the children were young, we also traveled long distances to be part of big, happy family gatherings. Nowadays, it’s just me and my two grown children. Traveling is too costly and risky considering the ice and snow in the mountains that separate us from our Midwestern relatives. These days, no one is interested in singing Christmas songs or reading the story of Christ’s birth. Only one is interested in watching the Christmas parade on TV. Watching anything else on TV together won’t likely occur. Neither will group participation in games. Blah. Who are these people and why are they raining on my Christmas parade?
Why can’t Christmas last all year long? Or at least all winter long. January is so cold and lifeless without the colorful lights and decorations and music. Christmas should last until Easter in the Northern Hemisphere. Once the flowers start blooming, I’d be willing to pack away all my Christmas things and replace them with bouquets and pink and purple ribbons.
Part of the blue mood is because I was unable to host a party this season. I wanted to, desperately. My party friend and I tested all kinds of appetizers for our second annual Christmas mystery dinner party, but then summer arrived and circumstances changed for both of us. This has been a difficult year in so many ways! I joined a social group to have more Christmas party opportunities, and would you believe I was prevented from attending the two I signed up for? And an annual party by my former writers’ group didn’t happen this year after the hostess moved to another state and a popular member of the group passed away. My church didn’t have its usual Jingle Jazz event either. A lot of good folks are struggling physically and/or financially.
(I’m considering a January party if I can enlist some help rearranging my dining room and office. Throwing a mystery party on short notice can be done with the help of downloadable mystery kits and online sites that allow guests to RSVP and sign up for food to bring. I’ll share what I have found in a later blog.)
When everything seems to be going wrong, it can be difficult to focus on what’s right. Tonight I went to a church’s community event called “Bethlehem Revisited.” It was a good reminder of God’s love for us. Christmas decorations and gifts and sweets are fun, but it’s a good idea to think about the humble town of Bethlehem and the people who were going about their daily business, struggling to make ends meet and pay harsh taxes, living in simple homes without the benefit of central heat and air, whose feet were the surest form of transportation. Wants were simpler back then, but the needs were the same. We’re all in need of a Savior. We all need hope. According to the Bible, “hope deferred makes the heart sick.” That night long ago, Hope came down from heaven, bringing love and light to a dark world.
May you focus on what’s right in your life and enjoy the best that this season has to offer. Merry Christmas!