Dude - What's Up With My Christmas?

"Silent Night, Holy Night, all is calm, all is bright"?  ... really?? ... it wasn`t very silent when I had my babies. ... and there were no barn animals in my room... 

"In excelsis deo"? What? What am I singing? I don't get it. Maybe these familiar words have lost all meaning - you know, like if you say the word `tuna` too much. After awhile it just becomes drivel. 

It's not just the carols ... it's the big show of Christmas that bugs me - something inauthentic about it all. Probably my own expectations. Those tend to be unrealistic... 

It's confusing to me that December is a time when we suddenly expect to become collectively joyful and generous and caring. Why?  Do generous acts in December make me a generous person? 

I recently read a saying that went something like, "If someone is nice to you but rude to the waiter, she is not a nice person." 

I guess my pet peeve about Christmas is that we perform a few acts of kindness, pat ourselves on the back, and continue on unchanged. I hate that. 

It's not enough. 

But I digress. ...It really is easier to point the finger at the collective than to examine my own heart. 

I must have some weird expectations about what makes Christmas special.  Honestly, I think the highlight for me is the gatherings. I love getting together with family to eat and play. 

Maybe I expect that Christmas is supposed to be a formal celebration, but it's too impersonal. (for me) Jesus is fairly central to our everyday. (Well, Jesus and Thomas the Train) We pray, sing praises together, apply scripture to life, share with others, read the Bible and in general just get to know God. (And watch, read and talk about Thomas the train too)

Maybe I can compare it to birthday parties. We don't really celebrate adult birthdays in my family. "Here's a card (if I remember), let's go out for supper, and continue talking and hanging out like we always do."  ... does it have to be a big production? 

I guess I've had some expectation about Christmas that, at some precise magical moment, the clock will chime and peace and joy will commence. It's in every book and commercial I've seen about Christmas, isn't it? And instantly we will be showered with good feelings and be drawn together in unity with each other and Christ. Ah, to bask in it if only for a day... 

Wow. Earth to Kim!! 

No wonder I'm frustrated. That's not R-E-A-L. 'Real' might be a little of that, mixed with 'Mommy, I peed on the floor' and 'Uh-oh, I think I'm sick' and broken dishes and movies that skip - maybe even a hydro outage or a hot oil spill. 

I guess a solution to my frustration might be to stop looking in judgment at the anonymous masses and tend to my own walk. The sincerity of others isn't mine to judge. I can apparently hardly recognize reality on my own! My job is to make sure I'm sincere, and building character year round. ... and maybe having realistic expectations too. 

Merry Christmas, all! 



Amy Sullivan said...

Okay, you crack me up. "In excelsis deo"...yeah, what is that all about? Lain? How funny.

Have a wonderful Christmas.

Oh and ps, I'm always nice to the waiter. :)

MTJ said...

Hi Kim,

Reading your post brought to mind many thoughts I've been having; giving me time for introspection and examination of my life.

I thought about what Paul wrote to the church in Philippi while he sat in jail:
"Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear. Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice..." (Philippians 1:12-17, NASB)

When you say, "It's confusing to me that December is a time when we suddenly expect to become collectively joyful and generous and caring." -- It reminded me of what I recognized in the aftermath of 9-11. There was an overwhelming sense of national pride and unity. We were no longer disparate groups of races and ethnicities, we were Americans; but these feelings didn't remain. Once again, America has returned to factions, back-biting and nipping at one another's heels as politicians and groups lead us along that path.

I have that same sense when I attend a funeral of some relative and I see people I haven't seen in years. I cannot help but want more, to do more, to have more. No (as you say), "It's not enough."

But I am determined to have contentment in my life, even when I'm wanting, lacking, and needing more. I've decided that it's not so much what I can change, but who I want to change.

I want me to be better. Instead of wanting more, I will give more of me; making myself available to God and to others. I will appreciate even the slightest acts of kindness even if it lasts for thirty-one days or thirty-one seconds; I will thank God for that. "Yes, and I will rejoice,"

There are so many emotions during this time of year, mine and those of others, at times colliding, blending, or conflicting.

Regardless what those around me may think, I want that joy; the joy of the Lord. A joy that moves even angels in the heavens above. I have that joy today, and I'm so very thankful to our Lord.

Your heartfelt words have provoked much thought in this my response. I have much to think and pray about in these coming days.

Blessings and peace.


From The Heart Online said...

Amy - glad I'm not the only one not knowing what I'm singing :)

From The Heart Online said...

MTJ - I never noticed that before - where Paul writes, "...in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice."

Wow. That's huge! He's thankful even for their pretentious spreading of the gospel? Wow. You called it alright - I'm definatly judging instead of being thankful. I would prefer to write off the whole because of an insincere few. Ouch.

You're right. I can be thankful and joyful - we're celebrating the birth of Christ together, right? We have freedom to do so. We do come together - some sincerely, some not - thankful for God's gift. That's good and I can rejoice.

Thank you for this loving (and scriptural)rebuke. That's love right there. ;)

I'm blessed to know you.
Merry Christmas MTJ.

Teresa said...

I understand the frustration of 'cliche-ish' moments...I love your hearts cry to be real and purposeful...God bless you this time of year; may we walk in the Spirit because of Christ moment by moment and daily...led by Who He is! Merry Christmas! You are lovely!

The Unknowngnome said...

Happy birthday Jesus!

Have a joyous non-judgemental Christmas Kim!

@MTJ, well said!

And to all a good-night. :-)

From The Heart Online said...

Hi Teresa! 'Led by who he is' I like that ;) Merry Christmas to you, my equally lovely sister!

From The Heart Online said...

Thanks, Unknowngnome. Joyous Christmas to you too ;)

Sharon Kirby said...

Good words, Kim. Much food for thought. I agree, it isn't enough to just celebrate on Christmas, and then let the miracle of "GOD WITH US" just fade away - like some diet promise we make, and then let go.

Holiday faith just isn't enough for me. I want REAL faith - nitty gritty, stumbling, striving, easy and hard, struggling, triumphant - ALL the things that a DAILY walk with Jesus entails.

So, my prayer for this holiday season is that God will do BIG things in my heart, and that He will make changes that will affect EVERY day going forward...

All that said, I hope you and yours have a WONDER-full Christmas, knowing how much really CHANGED in that manger.


From The Heart Online said...

Hi Sharon - I love the way you describe walking in faith. Made me smile :)

Have a great Christmas!

Melody said...

Really enjoyed this post and glad to have met you...blogospherically, that is. Look forward to reading more of your posts.

From The Heart Online said...

Hi Melody! (and welcome, new follower!) I'm glad to have met you too. I could really identify with your post.

... reminds me a little of "My Strange Lesson About Helping the Homeless". (under God Everyday category)

I'm on a journey that may be similar to yours and Amy's - one of less self, more God which means more giving...

Look forward to journeying together :)