...because we all have our motley moments!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

I'm not really into New Year's, so this post will be about Christmas.

Honestly, this year Christmas made me think a lot about...well, Christmas and what it's really all about. I posted the clip from A Charlie Brown Christmas a few weeks ago where Linus is quoting Luke 2 and telling Charlie Brown that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus. I know this, but what I'm wondering is why do I make it about so much more?
I really don't do a lot for Christmas. I bought presents for 6 people - Todd, Ethan, Micah, my 2 SILs and my MIL. I got some gift cards for the lady who cleans our house and the babysitter we pay and our pastors, but that's it. Pam was wondering how I get by with only buying for 6 people. Well, first of all, Todd's siblings and I draw names, so that's 2 right there. We always buy for his mom because she's his mom and of course we're going to buy for each other and our kids. I'm an only child, my father is dead, and my mother and I are estranged. It's not such a happy story when it comes to my side of the family. So when people say Christmas is about being with your family, well, that kind of makes me feel like crap. I have to make sure I focus on my "real" family - Todd, Ethan, and Micah, and Todd's family, because they make me feel like I've always been a part of them.
I decorate, but not heavily. I don't bake (except 1 batch of no-bake cookies for MOPS) and the only cooking I did was a quiche for breakfast Christmas morning and a pecan pie for dessert that night. So Christmas is not about goodies and big dinners and parties and it sure ain't about snow and cold weather, because I live in Central Florida.
And has anyone ever noticed how many people get sick around Christmas? That kind of puts a damper on the whole "Most Wonderful Time of the Year" idea. Micah woke up Christmas morning with a fever of 101. And did I mention Ethan has a broken leg?
I enjoyed watching the boys open their gifts and I'm not going to lie, I enjoyed opening my own presents. But the shopping, the few days I went to stores and didn't do it online, the shopping made me feel kind of hollow inside. I don't want to just be a consumer!
We watched Christmas specials with our kids, Charlie Brown and The Grinch (we do not like The Grinch) and Dora and Rudolph and The Backyardigans and I think even the Wonder Pets had a Christmas special and it was all, "Christmas is about giving," and "Christmas is about Santa," and "Christmas is about helping others," and while those are all noble ideas, even the Santa one, I wanted to scream at the TV, "No, it's not! Christmas is about Jesus!"
I don't want to be a crazy religious person, giving up the tree because it was a pagan symbol and Santa because he's not real and the gifts because we have so much stuff we have nowhere to put it and there are people in the world who don't even have clean water. I don't want to be like that, really. I see the value in all those things. But I want something MORE out of Christmas. Or maybe, maybe what I want is less. Maybe all I want is to see the Christ child. So maybe I should, on the cusp of this New Year, make a (ugh, I can hardly say it) "resolution" to focus on Him every day, and not wait until Christmas to "make it all about Him." That's a lot of pressure for 1 day. And I need Him more than 1 day out of the year. Trust me, I need Him A LOT.


Donna said...

Liz, what you say makes a lot of sense. I, too, am estranged from half of my family (my dad's side) and my in-laws make me feel like I'm meant to be part of the family. Otherwise, I can see how Christmas might be hard to celebrate.
As far as "keeping Christ in Christmas," we really kept it focused as much as possible on his birth and God's gift to the world in sending his only son. Our kids seemed really ready for this message this year (finally), especially B. He was all, "Some people think Christmas is all about getting, but I know it's all about Jesus getting born." Once he said that, I knew we could really just relax about the rest of it: the cookies, baking, gifts, and other "obligations." He got it. So I did, too.

Liz said...

Okay, so that quote from Kid 1 totally made me tear up.

Pam said...

Thanks for a great post Liz and thanks for sharing your gift giving list. I get so frustrated with myself every year because I am obligated to get gifts for people we rarely see. There is so much pressure to reach out to everyone from mailmen to dog walkers. I think keeping your family circle tight and close is great. I hope to do the same! I hope your new year is great!

Lindsay said...

We don't buy for a lot of people at Christmas either. We only buy for my nephews on my dh's side, and my parents on my side. I haven't seen one of my brothers in just over 3 years (although I love him, we just live far away). So it's really just the kids, and a few others here and there. And you know my feelings on Santa. :)

Thank you so much for this post. It's this time of year every year that makes us all stop and think about what we want to do different in the coming year. And boy do I have a long list. :)