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.