I really believe that the title of this post can be On Being (fill in the blank) at Christmastime. This is not meant to be a whine fest or to feel sorry for myself. But I do want to highlight a problem in today’s culture and that is exclusion of people who don’t fit the mold.
By 40, there is this expectation that we are to have our lives all mapped out for us. We should know who we are, what we are doing, and where the rest of our lives may take us (to some extent). And maybe for 50-60% of us . . . this is true. But it’s far from a super majority.
For me, it seems I’ve always been on the outside of the majority and maybe that’s why I am somewhat OK with being considered a freak or a little bit different . . . . I’ve had a lifetime of practice with it. But it never feels good to be misunderstood or marginalized.
Why Decorate For and Celebrate Christmas?
Those of us who are unexpectedly childless or single at this stage of our lives often feel this way . . . especially at the holidays. I stopped really giving a hoot about Christmas and the hoopla surrounding most holidays many years ago. But you automatically get labeled a scrooge if you don’t ‘deck your halls’ to the hilt each year.
But I ask, “Why do it?” “Who am I decorating it for?” Certainly not for me because I have to take time out of my life to put up those gaudy decorations, stumble over them for 6 weeks, and then pack it up again. And we all know that decorations are NOT the real meaning of Christmas anyway, RIGHT?
So, again I ask, “Why do it?”
Those with kids might say . . . . you do it for them. UH . . . ok? Then why am I a scrooge? And to woman or man out there who is single by no choice of their own, why decorate when it’s a reminder of what you don’t have, I say, “I completely understand!”
Do I have a tree? Yes. But only because my hubs is a Christmas nut. He would have the tree up in September if I let him. But it pains me to even put it up at Thanksgiving. It’s the reminder that the one’s who are really enamored by the lights and this ‘magical time’ of the year really aren’t here to witness it. It hurts.
In Context of Scripture
Did you know that God doesn’t care if you celebrate Christmas? Just like I don’t think he gives a hoot what you eat for lunch. Romans chapter 14 states that we are to use our own judgements on what to eat or what days to make special (or not!). And that we are to do so unto the Lord and for his honor. . . . whatever our choices may be.
The broader understanding that I have of that scripture is that God has ordained us to all go through individual circumstances in our lives that make us unique. That uniqueness can be celebrated through our life when we refuse societal attempts to make us submit to cultural norms. How we choose to honor God in those times when we choose NOT to bow to pressure is our unique way of honoring the life and circumstance that He has given to us.
I don’t think that I have to celebrate Christmas the way others do to honor Jesus or my faith because I try to do so throughout the year as well. I only have to honor him with how I manage the struggles he gave to me. I have enough of those on my own without having to add societal pressures and guilt as well.
It’s ok to not want to celebrate Christmas for whatever season you are in at the moment. I know many people in Newtown, Ct and victims of Hurricane Sandy will be struggling with that this year as well. My prayers go out to them and the incredible loss they are experiencing right now. And I can hope and pray that this is the true meaning that resonates this holiday season:
Pray for and encourage those who don’t have the luxury of celebrating the way most do at this time of the year.
I have closed comments to this post. I originally posted it to give voice to those who are struggling this time of the year. I regret that a few who have no empathy have turned this into a bashing session of those who struggle. I have deleted several comments that I felt were inappropriate and condescending. If you feel the need to comment further, please send me an email. Jen at Real Food Freaks dot com