Merry Christmas! I’m still celebrating, which brings me right to the point of my post. But first, a bit of a purposeful digression.
How did you spend Christmas Day? Ours began at 6 a.m. We actually made the younger two, who set our son’s alarm to get them going, lay in the bed until 6:30 a.m. I don’t know why I kidded myself into thinking that this would mean 20-30 minutes of extra sleep. The youngest decided to lay in our bed. Then I hear, “It’s 6:13!” and “It’s 6:18—almost there!” 6:22 and 6:29 were announced with equal, if not greater enthusiasm, so finally we gave up and got up.
Following the opening of presents, the surprises, the thanks, etc., we enjoyed a great breakfast. I think I actually completed a few chores before time to head out to the in-laws, where we ate Mexican—a different Christmas dinner, and delicious. It’s funny how, for many years, Christmas dinner at the in-laws meant Cornish hens. Like them or not, you could count on them at the table for holiday dinner. Then about three years ago, she sprung a seafood fest on us; for me, who could eat shrimp for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, that was heaven. Then on last year, a pot of gumbo—heaven again. I think her husband would prefer a more traditional meal, but I’m enjoying these new tricks of hers.
On Saturday, my superhero noticed an article in our local paper that encouraged the recycling of Christmas trees. What struck us both, as well as several who chose to comment, was the article’s opening statement: ‘Now that Christmas is over, what are you going to do with your tree?’ What? Is Christmas over? One commenter stated what we were both feeling, “Christmas Day was just yesterday.” For the two of us, it was a stark reminder of how the world views Christmas. The stores tell us that the season begins on November 1, right after Halloween ends. (Incidentally, did you know that Halloween is the second most profitable holiday season, right behind Christmas?) Then, in one day, the minute after you’ve opened the gifts and experienced buyer’s remorse, Christmas should be over.
Personally, it took me a while to get into the Christmas season. That might not sound too good, but the Lord already knows it, so I may as well “speak” the truth. I think that, between feeding almost 2000 cars of needy families between October and November in our church food fairs, as well as praying for the numbers of people I know who lost homes, I became acutely more sensitive to the plight of many, especially this year. The government is calling this a recession, but I conclude that the recession-depression continuum is relative dependent upon how full or empty your pockets are. For us, it’s been a time of celebration as we continually talk about our time of famine on last year versus the feast we’ve been experiencing. But my heart goes out to so many who don’t share our testimony.
I didn’t really begin to feel like Christmas until about the 15th. I still feel it. Even though the 25th has come and gone, the residue has been wonderful to simply bask in. The message of the Christmas Eve service is still ringing in my ears and marinating in my mind. I’m still playing the music that I only hear once a year. I felt it in the hugs and smiles that greeted me at church today. The fact that it’s been cold just makes it more “Christmas-y” to me. So does Christmas end on the 25th? Maybe for some, and certainly for the department stores who are now trying to clear out winter wear for the spring duds that will don the mannequins by the end of next week. But it occurs to me that Christmas is a state of mind as much as it is a season of celebration. My personal season started later this year, and I’m going to enjoy hanging on to it until…well, who knows?