It’s that time of year again. Most of my life I have approached the holidays with a combination of dread and loathing. From my earliest memory I still can feel the disappointment and fear that comes from being a child in tough economic times – money, or more rightly the lack thereof- was guaranteed to get Mom and Dad at each other’s throats.
Christmas time was always a really turbulent time of the year. Dad, especially, always wanted to do the large and lavish holiday things but the money wasn’t there. So he would get bitter and depressed. If only he would have known that a quiet and frugal observance of the Incarnation and birth of Christ with sharing and love would have been so much better than just another series of money fights.
It was better to put up simple decorations and lights and to make homemade candy with Grandma than to dance around the tension at home.
I have gotten to the point where I can barely tolerate the retail bonanza that accompanies the holiday season. I love Advent and the religious observance of Christmas. I can even get into the decorations and baking, but no, I am not into buying tons of crap for people who (like me) do not need tons of crap. Meaningful, needful and useful gifts are one thing, especially for someone you know is in need, but simply procuring a piece of vapid kitsch to wrap up so you can say you gave someone a gift is just not my thing.
Maybe that sounds sort of Scroogish but there’s no need to get me anything either. I do not need any bath sets, Walmart knockoffs of colognes that give me migraines, or socks and granny panties. I don’t mind a good gag gift, a raunchy calendar or good theological books (that I would have to choose…) The only things I really want are intangible anyway.
And off to the intangibles. I really want that one thing I have found to be so elusive- to be loved, to belong, to be accepted the way I am even though I wasn’t made for this world.
That’s a lot to ask, and maybe even wrong to ask, but who knows?