The sense that the Christmas holidays are crowding in around me to smother me, has always made this season one that I would rather escape completely. After all, the whole idea of Christmas that our western culture has hijacked from pagans, has about as much to do with Jesus Christ as sea-weed has to do with outer space.
The thing that really rips it, is that a time of year that is traditionally supposed to all about good cheer, unity, peace on earth, etc. has become for too many, a time of severe stress, depression, drunkenness, family squabbles, and widespread financial irresponsibility. Happy Birthday Baby Jesus!
Is there an alternative solution? I haven't the slightest effing idea. One thing I've decided is that amidst all of the other many many projects, brochures, year-end video for New Year's Eve that are job related,— gift exchanges, shopping, trying to find a parking spot close enough that I won't get soaked to the bone by one of southern California's freak and inconvenient gully washers...I WILL keep my cool. But really...do you think that maybe God is less concerned with WHEN we celebrate Jesus birthday than HOW? I mean if we are going to pull a day out of the hat when the Savior of the World might have been born, wouldn't it have made more sense to pick a day that isn't at the darkest coldest most depressing point of the year? How about August, Lord? I do realize that being a ridiculous American means that I don't really have to give a squat about what season that would be for another country in another hemisphere. I mean we all know Jesus loves America the most...right? Well....RIGHT?
Anyway, I've made the decision to not do Christmas cards this year. Sad. That was the one thing I used to enjoy about Christmas before my wife left me. I would turn our Christmas photo into some Photoshopped construct that would amaze and entertain our family and friends. Now they only serve as a sad reminder that I'm single, with two teen-aged kids who are becoming increasingly harder to buy Christmas presents for. And that's only if I can afford to buy them anything at all. No wonder so many people blow out their brains during this time of year. Short overcast days, ridiculous stress levels at work, social demands, family needs, lack of funds, not enough hours in the day. If I hear Frosty the Shithead one more time in the grocery store, I swear I will scream so frickin' loud small children will cling to their mommies and shiver.
Don't get me wrong. I love Jesus. I think He deserves to be lauded and sung about EVERY day of the year. But the idea that I'm some kind of piss-poor Scrooge if I don't don the gay apparel and join in ancient carol, pisses me clear the eff off!
Jesus...I need strength. I need joy in this joyless of all seasons. I need grace for my petty angry moments that certainly bubble over onto my children in ways I'm not aware of. I need financial sanity to keep me from digging myself deeper and deeper into the effing hole every effing November and December.
I know its your birthday, Jesus...or at least the time everyone decided its your birthday. I also know that I have nothing that I could ever give you that will offset the unmerited grace you gave to me. I am a pauper who has virtually nothing to give a king. All I have is my faith. And even that isn't my own.
Lord, let me see you this Christmas. Let me simply see your face and know that you are there...for real...and still my advocate. Because right now belief is in short supply. Help thou my unbelief!