Jenster's Musings

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Hello. I'm Jenster, But You Can Call Me Grinch

Tis the season to be jolly... whatever. Christmas is not my favorite holiday. Thanksgiving is actually my favorite holiday. There's no gifting pressure, the food is delicious, and I grew up enjoying most Thanksgivings with grandparents and a large number of aunts, uncles and cousins. Good times.

Christmas, on the other hand, inspires so many conflicting thoughts and emotions. I do enjoy the pretty lights and tasteful outdoor decorations. Heck, I even enjoy the yards that look like Christmas threw up. But to actually decorate my own house is just more than I really care to invest any time in. Maybe next year...

I'm not so into the gifts. I think it's preposterous that people go into debt, maxing out credit cards and taking money out of sparsely funded savings accounts just to buy things for other people that they probably don't need anyway. How does that fit into the "spirit of Christmas"?

And what exactly is the "Spirit of Christmas"? Isn't Christmas supposed to be a celebration of the miraculous birth of Christ? Okay. I know Christmas is not a Biblical celebration. In fact it was created by the Roman Catholic church in the 5th century to compete with the pagans' celebrations. Jesus was not born on December 25th. Duh. In fact, very little about Christmas is truly Christian. EXCEPT for the fact it is supposed to be an acknowledgement of one of the greatest events in the history of the world, regardless of when Christ was actually born.

AND it's one of two times in the year that churches across the country, probably across the world, are packed. Regardless of how you feel about Eastmas Christians, that's still two times in a year people are hearing about God's love and thinking about Jesus when they maybe wouldn't otherwise. So how can that be a bad thing?

Then again, Christmas is so blasted commercialized that it inspires righteous indignation of epic proportions on my part. Holiday decorations out with school supplies in August? Come on, people! Why not just leave them out all year long, for cryin' out loud. Though I do always pick something up after the holidays when they're marked ridiculously low, only to put them with the other decorations I'm too lazy to bring up from the basement.

This year we'll be spending the week with Todd's family. His brother and sister-in-law and their twins will be joining us at his parents' condo in Palm Springs. I'm looking forward to seeing everybody, but most especially those babies! They are 18 months, which is one of my favorite ages. So cute and so much fun! That brings me joy. So much more than any gift ever could.

Presents will be under the Christmas tree (which, along with mistletoe, holly berries and wreaths have pagan roots) and children's eyes will light with excitement. Or maybe not. My kids are too old to be overly excited and the twins are too young. And lest anybody think I'm unappreciative, I assure you I'm not. I love getting something new as much as anyone else. I always like the presents I get. BUT there's really nothing I need.

I would so much rather have that money spent on someone who has real needs. Coats for people with nothing, food, medicine -- there is so much poverty in the world. While I do like my gifts, there's a certain amount of guilt that comes with them. I get something else to... make me feel good/entertain me/decorate my house with/whatever - while... a malnutritioned child somewhere goes yet another day without food/a woman somewhere sells her body to keep her family alive/a student goes to school half frozen because he/she doesn't have a decent coat/fill in the blank.

If those of us who are disciples of Christ are going to claim Christmas as a Christian holiday, shouldn't we act like Christians? Shouldn't we take care of the widows and orphans? Shouldn't we feed the hungry and clothe the naked? I realize that not one of us can wipe out poverty and make all the unpleasantness of the world go away. But if every person on this planet who spends $100 or more on Christmas would spend just that much where there's a real need instead the results would be staggering. Mind blowing. I can weep just thinking about how ending world poverty is just within our grasp. It's truly just that close.

Why should I think anyone cares? Oh, I know most people of my acquaintance cares and probably feels the same way I do. But then we see greedy, selfish, moronic idiots who stampede a Walmart on Black Friday, trampling and killing a clerk in the process, just so they can get the sweet deal. Really. What's wrong with people? I know violence is wrong, but I'd love to just slap each and every person who didn't give a care to that poor man they just ran over. I see something like that and I despair for the human race. Are we really that depraved?

I know most, if not all, of you are thinking to yourselves, "Can't you just enjoy the season?" Yes, I can. And I do. As I said, I love the decorations. I love getting together with family. I love the carols and seeing how magical Santa and that whole angle seems to children. I love the look of tinsel and the big Christmas lights. I love the food! A little too much do I love the food. I love the goodness of the season. I don't care that all the things I mentioned are grounded in pagan celebrations. They don't symbolize that to me. I just wish less emphasis was put on things and more on the giving to those who truly need it.

Wow. I really didn't mean to spew like this. I was just going to comment on how I still don't have anything for the kids and how they don't seem to care. They already know Christmas is going to be extremely slim and they're okay with that. I'm grateful that no matter how spoiled with things they are, they still know what's important and what's not.

I know a lot of people deal with depression during the holidays. I don't. I also know a lot of people get stressed out with the holidays. I don't. And yet my heart is always so heavy this time of year because I feel like we've gotten it all wrong. But I'll still celebrate it with my family like usual and see the beauty and the joy in it. And I'll diligently try to focus on the greatest gift of all time, which is the subject of the holiday anyway. And maybe next year I'll do it just a little bit better.

Mused by Jenster :: 1:14 PM :: 17 People musing:

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