Weird Christmas Stuff

weird Christmas stuff

I admit it. I’m a traditionalist. I like to celebrate Christmas the way we celebrated it last year. I like to celebrate Christmas the way we celebrated it ten years ago. Yes, I even like Christmas the way it was in 1973 when I got an Easy-Bake Oven and a Barbie camper.

Let’s start with the food. Unless I live on an island in the South Pacific, I don’t want to eat coconut shrimp for Christmas dinner. I love coconut shrimp. Everyone loves coconut shrimp, but coconut shrimp cannot take the place of ham or turkey. This information is in the traditional Christmas rule book in a chapter entitled, “You Should Just Know Better.”

Let’s take rye bread, for instance. I like rye bread just fine if it’s a Thursday in February and I’m eating a Reuben sandwich. But Christmas dinner requires rolls. Hot, white, carb-laden rolls. Yes, I know. I know that white rolls are not “nutrient dense.” Let me fill you in on something, friend. People who talk about nutrition at Christmas dinner will find coal in their stockings. How’s that for density?

Let’s talk holiday home décor. Again, why are we messing with stuff that doesn’t need to be messed with? Everyone needs to take a page from my parents’ Christmas decorating guide. When our family celebrates Christmas with my folks, I have the full assurance of how things will be. There will be a red rickety little sled on the fireplace mantle. I think my parents acquired that sled when John F. Kennedy was president.

My dad will have picked out a “less than ideal” live tree from a tree lot because he felt sorry for the tree with the crooked base or the big bare spot. He and my mom will decorate the tree with the decorations given to them during 56 years of marriage. There’ll be all those little apple ornaments from their years in teaching. The homemade ornaments collected down through the years will be placed on the tree with great care. And when the ornaments are all on, they’ll say in unison, “It’s the prettiest tree we’ve ever had.”

If I walked into my parents’ home to find a 10 ft. artificial tree flocked in expensive fake snow and covered in new matching shiny balls, I would feel grave disappointment. At that point, they might as well just serve lobster bisque for Christmas dinner with whole wheat pita bread and hummus.

I’ve written about this subject before, but it’s worth repeating. Red and green are the Christmas colors, people. They have always been the Christmas colors. They shall remain the Christmas colors. Pink, lavender, and salmon are not Christmas colors…nor shall they ever be. Refer to the traditional Christmas rule book under the chapter entitled, “Frosty the Snowman Should Never Wear Bermuda Shorts.”

I realize that some of you love to experiment with your Christmas celebrations. You love to change things up, introduce new foods, and decorate in new ways. I can appreciate that as long as you know why we celebrate Christmas. God sent His son to a fallen world to bring hope and redemption. So whether you eat turkey and dressing or caviar on crackers, join in the song of the ages. The Messiah has come.
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Christmas Sadness

sad Christmas
There’s a problem with this time of year. Those who experience grief, sadness, or disappointment experience it all the more as the rest of us run around putting up lights, singing of Christmas cheer, and wondering why some people can’t even muster the energy to care about the ugly Christmas sweater party. If you’re grief-stricken, sad, or disappointed this Christmas, I’m very sorry. This column is lovingly dedicated to you.

Have you lost a family member this year? Or last year? Or even ten years ago? When you put up the Christmas tree, do you have to sit down and cry a few times as certain ornaments cause you to recall precious memories of the one who will be glaringly absent from Christmas dinner? Do you find yourself wanting to avoid parties, dinners, or the merriment of the season because you’re just too sad to care? You’re not alone.

When you watch Christmas movies or Hallmark commercials that feature parents and grandparents passing down long-held holiday traditions to their perfectly-dressed children, do you wonder what that life would have been like? What would it have been like to be loved and supported? Cherished? Respected? Do you wonder what people would think if they knew the violence, agony, and difficulty of your own childhood? Do you find yourself wondering why your own parents couldn’t have been more like…well, like parents? You’re not alone.

Did you experience the agony of separation or divorce this year? The one person who promised to never leave you walked right out the front door, never looking back. You wonder if anyone understands the searing pain of loneliness. You’re not alone.

Are you financially strapped this season? Already in debt up to your eyeballs? Behind on bills? Wondering how to pay the electric bill much less buy presents? When people say, “Christmas isn’t about all the presents,” you find yourself thinking, “Yeah. Tell that to my family members.” You’re not alone.

Did you always picture what it would be like when your own kids were grown? Did you envision them marrying lovely and supportive spouses and having beautiful respectful kids? Every Christmas they’d all gather around your table and everyone would be happy. Thankful. Blessed. A life pulled right from the Norman Rockwell picture hanging in the dental office. But it didn’t turn out that way. Perhaps addiction, rebellion, or selfishness crept in and ruined your vision of the picture-perfect Christmas. You raised your kids to be one way. But they chose a different path. I’m sorry. You’re not alone either.

Christmas is a magnifying glass of sorts. When you’re happy, you’re all the more happy in December. When you’re suffering, you’re all the more suffering. I can’t solve that problem. I can’t make the disappointing loved ones in your life less disappointing. I can’t bring back those who have passed on. I can’t go back and give you a more ideal childhood. All those things are out of my control. And out of your control too.

Hallmark movies are great but Christmas is not, nor has it ever been, about a perfect family or a perfect life. Only one person led a perfect life. And blessedly, Christmas is about Him. This Christmas I take joy in celebrating the one who completely understands us and all our disappointments. The one who is not surprised by the suffering, the grief, depression, or even the addictions. I celebrate Christ because He offers us something glorious…hope, redemption, love. A love that never fails. So, here’s to all the bruised and broken. You are loved. Merry Christmas.
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