It’s been a rough week. My kids don’t know the meaning of the word “sleep”. My car doesn’t know the meaning of “just work for more than 2 seconds at a time, you worthless piece of tin!” My dogs? Have made it their sole mission in life to pee on whatever…doesn’t already smell like pee. And, just in case you didn’t know, it’s almost Christmas.
Like everybody else, I am full-blown caught up in the cookie-baking, shopping-obsessed whirlwind that is “the holidays.” Let me just admit that I am one of those people that can’t get enough of Christmas. It’s always been my very most favorite holiday; I put my tree up the day after Thanksgiving and I’d do it earlier if I thought it would live that long. If I had an artificial tree, I’d probably never take it down. I love the cold weather and a cozy fire and hot chocolate. I love blankets and christmas lights and presents and glittery decorations. I love snow and icycles and cardinals and pine cones–and I especially love that I can get my kids to do almost anything just by saying 3 little words: “Santa is watching.”
And then there’s the family togetherness and the warm fuzzy feeling you get when you give things to people or when you help someone in need. Those things are awesome. As a kid, not so much. At least, not to me. I was more concerned with stuff, or lack thereof, depending on how well behaved I was throughout the year. But who am I kidding? My mom and dad delivered the goods no matter how I acted. Every year I could count on getting a ton of piddly-yet-cool presents, in addition to one giant present–usually something I’d been asking for for 13 months straight and one that probably cost my parents an arm and a leg and maybe a kidney. It was good to be me.
Though I did manage to zone in on the actual meaning of Christmas for a small amount of time over the course of the entire season, I usually spent Christmas week in a dreamy haze, totally preoccupied with thoughts of my soon-to-be loot. By December 24th, I’d be absolutely giddy, knowing that my most wished-for gift would soon be in my possession. Top presents of my childhood? Dance Club Barbie, an electronic keyboard, and…the Green Day “Dookie” album on cassette tape.
Good to be me, right? If you people only knew how often I still catch myself day dreaming about what’s in all those beautifully-wrapped presents under the tree, you’d be forever disgusted with me.
But there was one thing I loved even more than the whole gift-getting part of the Christmas season–that sense of anticipation. I’m a huge fan of it. And if you think about it, the Christmas story itself is all about the build-up: people waiting and NEEDING a savior, for ages and ages before he actually comes. And then there’s Mary’s whole story, the angel, the journey to Bethlehem, trying to find a hotel room, birthing babies in barns, a gigantor star in the sky,and then again with the angels, shepherds, wisemen, and of course, Jesus.
On a sidenote: the shepherds were totally my favorite part. I can’t imagine how freaked out they must have been–yet they went in search of the baby Jesus anyway. Best Christmas song of all time ever? “Do You Hear What I Hear”. Only not the loud and obnoxious takes farted out by Whitney Houston, Martina McBride or Carrie Underwood. No, I grew up listening to and loving a quiet, slightly-hallucinogenic Carpenter-ific version of the song.
But I digress.
Christmas? So not about presents or anticipation or hot cocoa or even cheesy Hallmark movies where grown men openly weep and an old lady dies and a kid meets Santa Claus and saves a town from economic ruin…there may or may not be a homeless talking dog involved.
Celebrating Jesus’s birth? Awesome. But I have to remind myself sometimes that it’s not Jesus who gave us Christmas–it’s God who gave us Jesus. We’re bad all year, and God gave us Jesus–JESUS, people–the big mamma-jamma present that we’ve been wanting with all our hearts. Pretty sure that’s better than a Dance Club Barbie.
Since I don’t know how much time I will have between cursing my car, cleaning up dog pee/kid pee/dog hair/crayons/cold spagetti, burning cookies, and not sleeping, I want to go ahead and tell everybody that I love you, and if you’re not local, I miss you. I hope we are all able to take some time to treasure the most precious gift we’ve ever gotten. Merry Christmas!