Can anyone actually put a finger on what Christmas Spirit really is, in its entirety? There is no word that sums it all up. That would be a rip-off and a slap in the face to the best Season of the year. Well, I’m sure there’s a word in the Greek. Apparently they have a word for everything… But this is not about Greek, or English, for that matter. Why?
Because Christmas Spirit is not words. Or presents. (gasp!) Or even a feeling. It’s an attitude. A choice. A way of living. A personality trait, even. A part of your being. Those with true Christmas spirit have it with them all year long. I’m not going all overly spiritual on you here. What I’m saying is that if you need stuff and people smiling at you to give you Christmas spirit, then you don’t have the real thing. You don’t get it from outside sources. True, others’ spirit can feed and fan your flame. Even ignite it in you. But it has to come from you. None of this cheesy ‘look inside yourself’ crap. But no one can have it for you. If you need an environment or an atmosphere to give you Christmas spirit, I am sad on your behalf. Because you are probably miserable the rest of the year, too! I know Christmas can bring out the sadness in us since it often contrasts togetherness with whatever pain or sadness is in our life. at the moment. I do not fault you for this. We’re all in that boat at one time or another.
This year was a tough one for me. A lot has happened in the last year. I’m quite frankly tired with life. Can you blame me? I’m about to give birth to the 3rd child in 3 years. My husband was unemployed for a significant part of the year. We lived with my parents for most of the year. Between the 2 of us, we work 3 part-time jobs to meet the bills besides the all important 48 hours/day of parenting. Money is tight. I am human. Jim is human. Our kids are little versions of human us. We live in a single-wide smaller than a semi trailer. Point is, it’s about loving and giving being better than getting.
I have come to the firm and liberating conclusion that STUFF is not important. True, I may go buy myself 3 new pairs of knee-high argyle socks because the feeling of wearing them with a skirt makes me happy. Because I am me, I enjoy certain things, and the fulfillment of these likes is delightful. However, I do not need argyle socks to be me. In much the same way, if you are looking for a Christmas environment to make you feel Christmasy, the feeling will be fleeting and will cause you to draw on the energy of others to maintain the emotional high thereby bringing down yourself and your host. If you follow Christmas traditions and seek out Christmas ambiance because you are already enthralled by the spirit of the season, most likely it is that you are spreading Christmas joy, not having to leech it from others. Chances are, you make life what it is to you. You love Christmas because of what it means to you and not how it makes you feel.
The embodiment of Christmas Spirit would have to be my mom. Who, in turn, unwittingly passed it down in all it’s glory to my brother, Evan. Who multiplied it by 100, 000 or so and may one day take the reins from Santa when he retires (much like the Dread Pirate Roberts).
Back to my point. It was my first Christmas in my house. With my babies. A very small Christmas by most standards. But my house smelled of pine for the whole Christmas month, and I nearly cried for joy at having a few dollars to guiltlessly blow on presents for my family. My 5-foot-tall tree was just enough to hold the few ornaments we have collected so far. My kids wore a new pair of warm jammies to bed Christmas Eve. I had white lights around my tiny kitchen. Despite life, I enjoyed it.
It may not have been the best Christmas ever, but I learned something valuable and precious: Christmas is what I make it. Life is what I make it. True, I may have to make something less than perfect out of the pieces of things. There are tears. There are sleepless nights. There is lack. There is sometimes fear. But where there is love, where there is a giving heart, where other people’s moments matter, there is Christmas. “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10,11)
“I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” (Philippians 4:11)