Disclaimer: For those of you who adore Christmas—FOUR CANDYCANES FOR YOU, GLEN COCO, YOU GO GLEN COCO. This one’s more for the Gretchen Wieners of the world.
Lately, I’ve developed this fantasy that Hallmark will throw in a horror plot twist. Like the goofy, kid-and-dog-loving guy ends up being a serial killer. Or even just a con artist—a real-life Grinch who runs off with the family’s Christmas money. Except then they’d realize that all they need are hands to hold and there’d still be a happy ending, so let’s stick with the serial killer.
I think the fact that I’ve thought so much about this sums up my feelings about “getting into the Christmas spirit.”
The one Christmas movie I can get on board with is A Charlie Brown Christmas.
There’s so much pressure to be merry during the holidays. But as I’m walking around Walmart, gagging on glitter and fake pine needles and getting accosted by the same five annoying songs, I feel manipulated and used. Every business is touting goodwill, trying to foster those special Christmas feelings—for the sake of sales. Any genuine goodwill that’s out there gets lost in the shuffle.
Can’t stand it, and can’t escape it. Radio, TV specials and ads, signs. And can we talk about all the jewelry commercials? It’s a horrible time of the year to be single.
If you tell anyone your reservations about Christmas, they will probably respond the way that Lucy does to Charlie Brown.
So you do, but being around people is still isolating, because everyone is dancing around and buying aluminum Christmas trees and not understanding how anyone could be less than happy this time of year.
Notice how it takes being disillusioned with Christmas for Charlie Brown to ask what it’s actually about. Linus’s answer is the simplest part of the movie. No snow, no decorations, no sales, just a boy on a stage, telling a simple story. And it’s the part that, no matter how disillusioned I am that year, I am captivated by.
I find so much hope in the fact that no matter how I feel that year, Jesus is Emmanuel—God with us. With us in sadness, with us in confusion, with us even in the midst of the chaos of Christmas. I’m not going to lie to you and say that the Christmas story always makes me want to get up and do that face-punching dance that Violet does.
But if there’s one thing that Jesus’s birth shows us, it’s that God meets us where we’re at, even if that place is in doubt or in sorrow or in general Scrooge-ness.
Take your questions, heartaches, and even anger to him, and he will accept them as if they’re frankincense and myrrh. Never in the Gospels does Jesus turn anyone away, and God doesn’t change.
“Whoever comes to me I will never drive away,” (John 6:37).
That’s why I can say genuinely,
Merry Christmas, friends.
What I’m Listening to: How Hard I Try – filous (feat. James Hersey) (again/still)
Note: I wrote this post a few years ago when I felt much less Chrismassy than I do now. I thought I’d share because I know how much it meant to me that year when someone related their own feelings of Christmas disillusionment. It’s okay to kind of hate Christmas, and it’s okay to eventually stop hating it too.