Well, it’s that time of the year. The time when little elves start decorating the streets with twinkly stars and red and green tinseled wreaths. When children, and grown-ups alike, start making their christmas lists. When getting one mile down the road takes 30 minutes, and when a casual run to the grocery store turns into a wrestling match with a silver-haired lady for the last box of confectioners sugar. When parents line their toddlers up for pictures with Santa where their faces are so contorted from their screams that they are barely recognizable. Ah, yes. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Or is it?
Let me preface the rest of this post by saying that if you are the kind of person whose eyes glaze over at the sound of Jingle Bells or if visions of sugar-plums dance in your head you probably need to hit that little “X” in the corner of your screen and pretend this post doesn’t exist. But if you are as jaded about Christmas as a jigsaw, then press on.
For those that are still with me: let’s get real about Christmas. I hate this time of the year. You might say, “Nikol, ‘hate’ is such a strong word.” Yes, it is. So, let me repeat. I hate this time of the year.
As a Christian, I had a hard time admitting this about myself. Few things have liberated me more than when I said those nine little words, “Hi. My name is Nikol, and I hate Christmas.”
Don’t get me wrong, I love that Jesus was born. I love that one very thing about Christmas. But that one thing gets lost in the proverbial hustle and bustle of the season.
My dread of all things Christmas happened 13 years ago this week. My father passed away two days before Thanksgiving and the holidays were never the same. Traditions that I once looked forward to were replaced with a sadness of one more year without my dad.
As time ticked on, so did the loathing. My birthday falls right in the middle of Christmas and New Years. Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a wife and mother. So, in October (yes, October – don’t get me started), when I see the Christmas decorations being unpacked on the shelves at stores, I almost have a physical reaction as I brace for the inevitable holiday season and another reminder that I’m still single and another year older.
With all that being said, it’s not a surprise that I get depressed this time of the year. Lots of people do. While the world wants us to believe that this is a magical time of the year, the truth is, for many people, it’s a nightmare. Remember those masks that I was telling you about in Fear and Freedom? Well, if there is ever a time when folks put on those masks it’s during the Christmas season.
Last year, God showed me that there is hope for the Scrooges like me out there – those people that have been battered and bruised by life and by dreams left unfulfilled. So, in a bold act of faith, I’m taking God up on His challenge to write a series of blogs on re-thinking Christmas. To be honest, I have no idea what He is up to. I have no idea how many blogs will be in the series and I have no idea what they will be about, but I’m willing to make-like-a-wise-man and hop on a camel and see where He’s leading.
So, even though that familiar dread has descended upon me as the holidays approach, I am hopeful and thankful. I am hopeful that this Christmas will be better than the last and I’m thankful that the God who fulfilled His promise to Abraham over 2,000 years ago is the same God that keeps His promises today.
So, throw some chestnuts on the fire, grab a cup of hot chocolate and let’s see where He takes us. In the meantime, tell me what you loath about Christmas.
Christmas has always been my favorite time of the year, but I have always felt a bit of sadness too. I don’t like enjoying my “blessings” while others suffer. I thank God for what he has given me, but I want my kids to know the real meaning Christmas (giving and sharing not “getting”). I “loathe” buying stuff for friends and family. Mostly because there is nothing they need. It all becomes junk after a few days and a complete waste of money. I admit, I have always enjoyed receiving gifts. But my excitement comes from having someone think of me and unwrapping the present, regardless of what is inside. When I was younger, I wanted junk, the more expensive the better. With age comes wisdom; there are so many people without food or a place to stay. I’m sure God would rather I do something for those in need over buying junk for myself and others. This year, I am torn. I want to buy a tv, computer, and clothes for my kids. But these are things I would probably buy anyway. I am holding these items for Christmas, because of “tradition” and it makes me feel guilty. I also want to take my kids to visit a homeless shelter. I want my kids to understand why Jesus was born and know why we give during Christmas. I believe that God wants us to have a blessed and fruitful life. But I also believe that we are given blessings to share with others. Thanks for sharing your story Nikol. I also pray that you will be blessed. Just remember, there are kids praying for a mom just like you are praying for a family. I pray that God will help you find each other, if that is the desires of your heart. Take care.
As a side note: This photo is not a family photo. I do not know who these people are, but what I do know is that this photo makes me laugh.
Loathe IS such a strong word. But I’ll go with it because I love you.
I loathe the traffic at all Birmingham malls, and that I can’t even go to lunch at any restaurant near those malls from like mid-November until the new year. I strongly dislike the stiffness I feel after sitting on the floor and wrapping presents for however many hours. I also am sad that I can’t seem to break down and justify a real tree for myself, or that I wrestle every year with putting lights on my fake tree, and swear that I’m going to get a pre-lit tree, but don’t. AND (one more), I can’t stand one of the Christmas Eve services at my home church, where all 4,000 children under the age of 7 process as angels, shepherds, and other various characters of the nativity, and that that particular service has officially turned into a certifiable circus.
Whew. But on the brighter side, I do love that it’s the season of Nikol’s Sausage Balls; I love the candlelight service at 11:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve (the service that essentially redeems the previously described Circus Service); some time off from work; that I purchase a new Christmas CD every season to add to my collection; wrapping presents and tying them up with pretty bows; that I finish all my shopping by the first of December so I can spend the month just enjoying the Christmas spirit, not all the drama that accompanies it, And oh yeah, I love me some Christmas cards 🙂