Broken-down Poetry: I love/hate Christmas


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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I love/hate Christmas

"I hate Christmas."

After my mom confessed that truth, I marveled--slack-jawed--at the bitterness of her comment. How can anyone hate Christmas? Who hates candy canes, egg nog, corporate Christmas parties, jingle bells, stocking stuffers, Hallmark original movies, wearing red all the time, tinsel, 24/7 holiday music on the radio, shopping and snow storms? I mean, those are pretty much the ingredients to happiness or something.

But then I started thinking ... maybe I hate Christmas too.

Trying to find people the right gift is harder than you would think. Especially with the standards of previous Christmases and birthdays. My best friend Ashley gave me an hour phone call with my favorite author for my seventeenth birthday, how am I supposed to match that? Give her an hour with the pope?

And the Christmas specials on TV? Please. All of them have the same theme: some old scrooge learns the true meaning of Christmas or some self-pitying 30-something finds true love. They're all the same.

And those family Christmas parties? Thanksgiving was a month ago. Really, how much has happened in that short period of time? I suppose any family gathering is fine if no one brings up politics. Again. (Knock on wood.)

See. I really hate Christmas. It's awful. It's so fake. And consumer-based. And dumb. And. And.

So I lied. I love Christmas. I mean, we have our problems, but I really love her deep down inside. I just don't think I love Christmas the way I loved her when I was a kid. I couldn't sleep a week before Christmas because I kept thinking about the my-size-barbie or giga pet I asked for.

And I just don't think I love Christmas the way I know I'm supposed to love her, for the ultimate gift: the Messiah. I'm trying to revel in the miracles, in the prophecy and everything else surrounding the birth in Bethlehem. But I can't. I just don't seem to get it yet.

The Israelites were doing okay without a Messiah. I mean, sure they turned from God every other king or so, but they got right back to it. They just needed a good leader. A David or a Josiah or a Nehemiah or something. God still took them back. He forgave them.


Last Christmas I decided to not be so materialistic. I had just finished reading Blue Like Jazz by the one-and-only Don Miller, and I was convicted. I tried not to want so much, but at the same time I wanted to be grateful for what I received. Even that was hard. It was hard to believe I had enough. No more, no less.

Maybe you can label my relationship with Christmas as love-hate. I want to love her for the right reasons, but I love her for the wrong. I want to hate her for the right reasons, but I hate her for the wrong.

New plan: I am going to make the most out of this Christmas. I am going to learn how to love her for the Messiah and I am going to learn to hate her for her materialism. I am. Or at least, I'll start to.

My mom just apologized to me for her holiday blues. She said she had a little breakdown. She doesn't hate Christmas, just all the pressure of social gatherings and pleasing others. I understand. I feel the same way.

With love,