I have a confession to make, a confession that just might garner me the nickname “Scroogette”. But I must risk the moniker and tell you the truth - I don't like today's Christmas. Now, don't gasp and mutter “tsk,tsk” under your breath, but hear me out as I explain my current aversion to the season.
I have noticed that before the turkey has been carved on Thanksgiving Day, we begin hearing snippets of Christmas carols streaming across the air waves. And before the turkey has been digested, we are tying the laces of our tennis shoes, arming ourselves with lists and credit cards, and racing out the door in search of bargains and sales - all in the name of Christmas. We rush through Christmas pageant practices on our way to Christmas parties. We then rush through the Christmas pageant itself, on our way to another buying frenzy, for after all the kids will want many, many gifts under the Christmas tree. We hurriedly send out Christmas cards and letters to our long lost relatives and friends, even as we plan the menu of our Christmas feast. And by the time Christmas Day arrives, we are exhausted and numb, but already planning to take advantage of “after Christmas” sales and bargains. Run, run, run, buy, buy, buy. All because it is Christmas! And I guess, by these standards, I do indeed deserve the name, “Scroogette”.
Please - before you become one of the “we” - take a breath and stand back and think about who, not what, we are supposed to be celebrating this season! Whether it is politically correct or not by today's principles, Christmas is not a “holiday”! It is the designated day that we, as Christians, celebrate and acknowledge the birth of Jesus Christ.
I want to reclaim Christmas, so that I don't have to say I don‘t like it! Maybe I am being nostalgic, but I want to go back to when Christmas was simple. Back when children were happy with one special gift under the tree and a sack of candy weighted down by an orange. Back when Christmas was celebrated by being at home together as a family, reading the Christmas story in the glow of twinkling white lights. And definitely back before the world claimed Christmas as its own holiday, and greedily shoved Jesus and the nativity scene into a closet in exchange for keeping all cultures and ethnicities happy and content.
So I'm giving you permission to join me in reclaiming Christmas! Together, we will stop feeling the worldly pressure of “shopping 'til we drop”. We won't feel bad if we don't send Uncle Charlie and cousin Zelpha a Hallmark Christmas card. We won't max out our credit cards trying to buy the perfect gifts. We won't have to attend every party, every function, every event just because it is prefaced with the word Christmas. We will choose to not be frenzied and exhausted. We will actually hear the words of each Christmas carol and take them to heart. We will gladly (not guiltily) buy a simple gift for our children, and we will teach them by doing so, that Christmas isn't about gifts or getting what we want. Instead, Christmas is about giving - giving the gifts of our time and our love. And Christmas is about feeling joyful, because we remember that one day long ago, in a manger filled with straw, a very special baby boy was born.
So now, if you choose to reclaim Christmas, go forth and smile! Go forth and hug your spouse, your child and your friends. Hum softly or sing out loud every Christmas carol you can remember. Don't dread, but look forward to the month of December. And relax! Do a little baking and a little shopping. Really enjoy the kids' Christmas pageant, because now you don't have a mental checklist to rush through and get done. And most of all, as you cheerfully brighten the lives of those around you with your newfound sense of peace and serenity, keep in mind and appreciate the true reason for the season.