Friday, December 24, 2010
Jesus: The Christmas Rubix Cube
So I have to say that this is the least Christmas-y Christmas season I have probably ever experienced. By coincidence of a busy season at both my jobs and some mid-December traveling, here I find myself on Christmas Eve day not having done anything Christmas-y. I've not made or eaten a single Christmas cookie. I've not consumed a drop of eggnog. I've not been to a single cocktail party or donned a Christmas sweater even once. I haven't decorated a tree or seen a dressed up Santa Claus. I've not been to an office Christmas party (JDogg's work is too cheap for that sort of thing and my work only has 2 employees, not quite enough for an all out drunken, fattening, gossip-fest) and I've not even taken a driving tour of the trashy Somerville Christmas lights display. In actuality, the only holiday things I have done are not been able to find a parking space at the mall and watch "Love Actually" several times per week which I do during most seasons. See what I'm saying? Least Christmas-y Christmas ever! Now I'm not saying any of this in a forlorn way. I'm don't feel sad or forsaken over any of this....more like just surprised as in, "how the hell did I make it this far in the season without doing any of this stuff?"
Funny thing, though: I feel like it's going to be a good Christmas. For the first time in a long time, I feel as though I'm actually going to be able to celebrate the day in the spirit for which it was intended; as though I'm actually going to be able to reflect a bit about what was going on in a manger in Bethlehem 2000 years ago and what the hell it has to do with me.
My initial thoughts are these, for those of you who care: Christmas is not a one-shot spiritual vaccine against despair. I've often, in the past, had hopes that Christmas would really rev up my spiritual life all in one day, like a existential Red Bull or something. Angels! Harps! Babies! Cattle Lowing! Virgins! Hallelujah! How could I be anything but full of spiritual fulfillment and joy? But actually, I've decided Christmas is more like a Rubix cube in your stocking. We've got all these problems in the world and in our own situations and God's answer to all this (at least Christians see it this way) is a little baby in some hay. And we might ask, what the hell am I supposed to do with that? How will this help me? Well, my job now is to figure that out. And this is where that journey begins, on Christmas. Like the starting gun of a marathon, it doesn't signal that the race is run, only that it's begun. And now I have the next whole year to figure out what that strange baby (and what he grew up to do and say) offers me in terms of hope and a future, and in that way find joy, in the long term, in the depth, not in the mall parking lot. Though it would be nice if I could get a little divine help there too.
So Merry Christmas to all you readers. I hope that however you celebrate, you find God's peace in this season!