Wednesday, December 1, 2010

christmasING and why it's ok

I love Christmas, I know, we all know this by now, I've been building this up for months and months it seems. I know for some I start too early...sorry. I know for others they don't like the hustle bustle.

I feel like I need to make a case for Christmas.

I actually took a lot of flack for being excited about Christmas. I received various complaints in my exubrant celebreation of Christmas...this is my attempt to answer them as best I can. By the end if you still don't like Christmas, I'm okay with that, but please, I beg you don't rain on my parade anymore. :)

Complaint 1: "It's too early for Christmas."--Okay, okay I'll give some of you this one in my over-enthusiastic-starting-after-Halloween-facebook-counting-down celebrations of there, Scrooges 1, Christmas lover's 0. But look out, we Christmas lover's are about to make quite the comeback. :)

Complaint 2: This one is much like the one the above, only slightly tweeked--"It's not even Thanksgiving" or the reoccurring "What about Thanksgiving, it's a holiday too!" First of all, I want to answer the complaint with a question: How does my Christmas tree being up inhibit your Thanksgiving celebration? For me, my tree only enhances Thanksgiving and gives me one more thing to be Thankful for. Also, just because I start Christmas decorating doesn't mean I leave Thanksgiving out. If I had the money to invest in fabulous Thanksgiving decor, I might. Usually after Halloween, its easier to move from our Halloween decor, into Christmas. It's sort of a that word???
Also I view Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years part of a general holiday season. One is not more important then the other, rather all are occasions for Thankfulness, Joy, and the anticipation of the bright new days to come. :)

So its 1:1...Tied up!

Complaint 3: "Christmas has become so commercial...all about buying stuff." Okay, to this I have a two fold answer. First of all, if you don't like that it's so commercial, don't let it be. There's no rule saying you have to break the bank and spend your entire savings on Christmas gifts. Try something handmade. Christmas is a lovely time to exercise your creativity. Second, and I'm serious in saying, giving gifts for some people is a huge way of showing love. Again, this doesn't mean you have to break the bank. Usually for people that give and receive love by giving and receiving gifts, it really is the thought that counts...get creative.

Uh-oh! 1:2 Christmas lovers are winning!

Complaint 4: "Christmas was originally supposed to be about Jesus and it's not anymore." This is actually one of my least favorites for a few reasons. First of all, historically if we really look at Christmas it wasn't originally about Jesus. It was originally pagan. I'm not saying that I don't love that its a beautiful time to remember what Christmas became over time--a time to remember Christ...but let's get our facts straight. This leads me to my next point...for those of us who want Jesus to be the reason for the season: shouldn't everyday be like Christmas??? Remembering who he is and that he became Emmanuel ("God with us"). I love Christmas songs, particularly ones that refer to Christ as Emmanuel. Think of it...God with us. God with us. God coming into our dark world as light. I just love it. This leads me to my last point in addressing this complaint: Jesus can still be your reason for the season, even if to others He's not.

1:3 Christmas lovers!!!! :) (see, aren't I winning you over)

Complaint 5 (last one because this post is getting too long and I'm already afraid I've made someone mad, even though that's not my intent at all): "Christmas is too busy!!!! All the family party's, work party's, church party's..." This answer is much like my response to Christmas becoming too commercial...don't let Christmas become that busy. You're allowed to say no...even if you don't have anything planned that night. It's okay to stay at home curled up by your tree with cocoa and a Christmas movie. It's okay to take a nap every now and again. It's okay to figure out a different day to celebrate with a particular side of the family. Relax, enjoy, take time for Christmas. :)

This should clench it...1:4 Christmas lovers! :)

Did I win you over yet? (Or just annoy you...sorry)

All in all, I'm just saying I don't understand the Scrooge side of Christmas. Christmas is supposed to be a season of joy and I think, especially as those who claim to know the Source of joy, it's okay to celebrate, to stand in awe, to enjoy the mystery and magic of the season, to give gifts, and to love, and to rejoice in Emmanuel, to give to those in need, and to pray for the grieving, and to rejoice with those who rejoice. It's a fabulous time of year and worth defending (I don't mean that in the "Merry Christmas vs Merry Xmas" way, personally its not an argument I'm worried about).

Before I close this long post that no one probably made it all the way through, I do want to add this...I understand for some Christmas is painful. It may be the first Christmas without a loved one, or the 1st Christmas without a job, or the 2nd without a job, or a Christmas centered around hospitals and a family illness, and for those people, its okay to grieve in this season and my heart really goes out to you. I think its okay to find Christmas hard to celebrate this year. I've been there in one way or another, most of us have, and wouldn't want to be there again.

To me though, it's all the more reason to celebrate Christmas and look for those in need to reach out to and be Emmanuel to...after all we are the body of Christ...we are those who are to be "God with us" to so many.

Anyway, that was long, but its been building. I hope no one was offended. :)

Merry Christmas!!! :) :) :) :)