Christmas carols, twinkling lights, the aroma of cinnamon and sugar cookies, TV images of happy families enjoying holiday feasts, the romance of George Bailey. Ahhh, Christmas. Can anything else make you feel more warm and cozy inside? We’re supposed to be loving and sentimental this time of year, aren’t we?
I’m wondering why then, these tell-tale signs of Christmas sometimes have the precise opposite effect. Why, more often than not, when bombarded with a holiday image, aroma or a song, is my response is sheer dread?
Upon further examination, it’s clear that egocentricity has me feeling like I’m not entitled to partake in all this warm Christmasing . I simply don’t measure up to all the pretty glitter that is Christmas.
Well, hmmm. Let’s look at that. The fact is, my reality is not a Hellman’s commercial . . . I’m constantly racing the kids out the door to pageant rehearsal, I curse the whole time I put the lights-up, and our Christmas dinner is far from what the TV would have me believe is going on in all the other homes in my neighborhood.
So what’s the lonely, stubborn pout about? IS my life so different from everyone else’s? Funny how Christmas with all its warmth and cheer can leave us feeling so alone and isolated.
The Christmas miracle is that we have choices! Sure, we can travel down the dark alley of self-pity to arrive at a place of scarcity and lonesomeness. Or, we can focus inward and summon up the humility, strength and courage to embrace the life we’ve been given — without concern for what TV or advertisers suggest it should be. When we travel the path of appreciation for the whole of what our life is, we arrive at love, freedom, warmth – and the Christmas spirit can’t help but thrive here.
There is no magic spouse, lottery ticket or perfectly behaved child that will make Christmas the fantasy we may have in our imaginations. What makes Christmas fantastical is the ability to let go of ego, let go of what false images tell us Christmas should be, and embrace what is: God’s love, a child’s love, family love.
Let go and let love happen. It is a wonderful life – if you make it so.