In previous years, I was heavily embroiled in all of the commercial intricacies that come with the Christmas. I was always strategizing over the holiday decor, both inside and out; always scrutinizing over every little detail for the perfect holiday gift. There is the shopping and fighting long lines, surrounded by some of the most rudest, crudest humans you could come across; rushing to get home, hide the gifts, make dinner, prepare for the next workday; receive numerous holiday party invites from both personal and professional associations (not to mention you’re obligated to attend at least three: employers and at least one personal to show “face”). Somewhere along the way, some time needs to be set aside for those of who still believe in the art of writing and mailing holiday cards for friends, neighbors , employers, clients, kid and pet sitters, on and on. All the while, you’re hounded by every charity by way of every medium out there, reminding you to “give generously” this holiday season. When Christmas draws near, you still have to wrap the gifts, write the check for your favorite charity, make preparations to host Christmas Eve, Day, or both, tend to the cleanup, and watch everyone’s facial expressions as they casually open their gifts that you’ve invested so much time planning and wrapping. All those gallant efforts go to waste with a simple question, “do you have a gift receipt?” supplemented by a faint, fictitious smile as to not hurt your feelings (though those feelings were squashed the moment they opened their gift).
That was fucking exhausting. I never knew Christmas to be this tiresome. I’m exhausted just by typing out all this madness. And yet, that was my holiday life for many years.
So much fanaticism……where is Jesus this whole time?
Society has become so entrapped in the wickedness, they have been brainwashed to believe it’s not Christmas until you get that number one item on your wish list, or have been declared as the host for Christmas Day dinner and/or compile an unforgettable holiday party, retrieve that Christmas bonus, have polarizing debates over holiday songs that encourage date rape, or get your kid that $400 gift that he probably doesn’t deserve, or that every precious holiday minute is unwisely spent with ungrateful humans. I freely admit….. I have been guilty of all of these things. I am guilty of choosing friends over family. I am guilty of giving extravagant gifts. I am guilty of throwing fits by not getting exactly what I’ve asked for. I am guilty of bestowing the holiday merriment amongst my co-workers and giving them more of my time than they deserve. I am guilty of utmost vanity when it comes to holiday outdoor decor (though my efforts didn’t go unnoticed; I did win a beautification award from the village a few years ago.) This is not the Jesus way. The Jesus way never highlighted any of these atrocious holiday attributes. I digress, therefore, I must ask:
…..what happened to Christmas?
It turned into the season of vanity, narcissism and greed.
Vanity. Examples include finding that perfect holiday dress(es) for the parties we’ve been invited to (and to this day I cannot think of one that was memorable). I always had to worry about making an appointment at the hair salon far, FAR in advance of the Christmas holidays so my hair would be pristine enough for holiday photos. And how about those gifts? The wrong gift can turn into world war 3. Therefore, paying extra attention to the details must be employed as to not offend the recipient in any way. That in itself is exhausting, ain’t nobody got time for petulant gift recipients.
Strange how times have changed. I remember as a child, you were expected to be thankful for that ghastly color blocked holiday sweater grandma gave you. Now, as millennials are having children of their own, they seem to impose a different set of expectations when it comes to gifts. Every year I was left more perplexed…..that the thought no longer counts, unless it’s exchanged for something that does count.
So much vanity. Still no Jesus.
Oh, the narcissism. Where society has gone so far as to mock the gift giver (as discreetly as they can) by returning the gift to get what they want. In recent years, I have fought against this mentality by only giving gift cards. At this point, I am beyond caring what anyone wants, with the exception of one or two people. And they don’t include bratty kids. However, I’d be more akin to giving people what they need, but nowadays needs and wants are two very different things. The wants bring them satisfaction, bragging rights, and unwarranted gratification.
So much narcissism. Still no Jesus.
The greed. This deserves a post all in its own (of which there is one, written many years ago. This post will be later edited to include it if I ever locate it.) My disdain for the retailer’s lack of empathy for its employees during this time of year has no limits. They don’t care about its employees, their families, or have any respect for the true nature of the holiday season. I imagine the suits summon an endless cringe every year as they must close up shop on Christmas Day. It must kill them immensely. Contrary, that’s why they start Christmas in September so that can make up for that ONE day.
The greed is aplenty. The one area you definitely will not find Jesus.
It’s safe to assume that by now I’m grossed out with the drama, the debates, the hype, the bratty kids, and the noise pollution that Christmas has morphed into over the last decade. Years of stress have led me to commemorate Christmas organically: to celebrate the birth of Jesus.
This holiday season, I decided to forgo all that unnecessary stress and unwarranted vanity and put all my focus on the reason for the season. The holiday cards were kept to the confines of my most innermost circle. Holiday gifts were reserved for people who I have seen and supported me throughout the year. Songs and hymns about the upcoming birth of the new king can be heard melodically around the house and on repeat; reading the Bible through the birth became a nightly ritual; journaling in my book of prayers became a constant. Listening to and inhaling the lyrics of O Holy Night and allow them to sink beneath the skin and flourish through the blood, the heart, and the very soul until the warmth and armor of love is felt in every fiber of my being. To embellish in all things Jesus is how Christmas should be celebrated, and a reminder why we need to get beyond the vanity, avarice and narcissism that enveloped society in recent years. We need to get back to the childlike pleasantries, and alleviate the pomp and circumstance.
I have this intuition that the more society shuns the idea of Jesus, and religion in general, the more narcissistic they become. I refuse to believe this is coincidence. Ergo, this holiday season I have decided to let go of the madness, and invest all my energies for the main man. I must admit, there is a very different feel in the air in recent weeks. Something divine, otherworldly, akin to a bouquet of metaphysical goodies that rains down to negate the wasted energies to begin spiritually anew. I was so lost in the noise pollution of Christmas commercialism for so long. Not this year.
This is not a popular and widespread holiday lifestyle choice. The popular idea of Christmas is to spend valuable time with your fellow man, no matter who they are; that it’s better to give and not receive (and not complaining about it would help matters, I’ll admit); that we should take the time to reach out to spread joy and kindness. I agree, but humans ruined it for me. That is why I am using this holiday season to retrace its roots in the light of Jesus; to inform, to learn, to inspire and to grow through Scripture, songs and hymns so that I can be better equipped to tolerate the horrible humans, the bratty kids, and the over abused Christmas commercialism. The masses, including those in my own personal network, have lost touch in the true meaning of Christmas. It is disheartening.
My commemorative spirit this year is not the Jesus way, to be sure. But sometimes you need to look back to go forward. You’re bound to bump into Him along the way.
Christmas hasn’t been kindhearted and genuine in a long time. Over the last decade, society has become greedier, nastier, and selfish. The more society steer clear of the church, so do the teachings of Jesus. Instead, we find ourselves arguing over who has the right to host Christmas dinner, bratty kids having unwarranted fits because no xbox was under the tree, and greedy retail employers threaten the livelihood of their employees if they don’t fulfill the required holiday work hours.
I still maintain my holiday decor: there is a tree, indoor and outdoor lights, wreaths, and all things a glitter when you enter the home. Upon entrance, my desire is for people to feel the true sentiment of Christmas. I want people to think outside of themselves, look inside themselves as opposed to looking under the tree for material crap. This is my humble abode. This is my Christmas.
Note for the atheists: I don’t care if you don’t believe in Jesus, but you better not ask for gifts, you fucking hypocrites.
Final note: it’s public knowledge I don’t like kids. I don’t like kids for the same reason I don’t like drunk people. They are messy, I don’t understand what they’re saying, and they’re not coherent. Keep that shit away from me.
In proofing this, I have noticed I’ve typed “bratty kids” numerous times in this post, and I’m not taking it out.
And because I refuse to bow down to manufactured outrage, dare I say it: