By David Kneen
A lady in my office regularly emails with the days, hours, and minutes to go until Christmas. I love this lady and Christmas, but I delete her emails unread. I do not dread the holiday season yet I do not live in unending anticipation of its coming.
Heedless of my feelings though, like a force of nature it comes. For me like most, the season’s approach brings a degree of apprehension, usually concerning gift-giving. What to buy for whom? How much to spend? How will I be judged by my gift choices? Our culture unhelpfully adds hyper-indulgence and desperate nostalgia, like Jersey Shore trying to squeeze into a Norman Rockwell painting. With the pressure building, we overload the season with impossible expectations, both our own and other’s. Caught up in the whirlwind, we seek refuge in a far too narrow definition of “holiday-success” which threatens to demand total exhaustion of body, heart, and mind.
Let us pause and consider whom and what is most important, and what is not. Let us identify and plan around whom or what is toxic and stressful, and let us cling to what is good, and peace-, and love-, and life-giving. Let us treat ourselves and each other with gentleness and understanding. Let us ask before we assume. Let us feel free to laugh and to cry, and let us allow each other the same freedom. Church, none of us are whole creatures. Let us notice the wounds. Let us offer and receive Love with open eyes, hands, and hearts.
The first in a series by David Kneen on dealing with emotions and expectations around holidays.