I was a grinch as a child. I didn’t enjoy Christmas. It didn’t hold much joy for me. We had to get dressed up and go see people. We had to try to think of good things to get people. It was just so boring! Presents and stockings were fun on Christmas morning, but it wasn’t worth everything else. And I hated Christmas music. I still do, to a certain extent. It’s just annoying to me. Not the “O Come O Come Emmanuel” type songs, but the “Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer” type songs. That fluffy meaninglessness irked my philosophical spirit. In my world, things have to MEAN something, or they’re useless.
The first Christmas I really thought about it, the meaning of Christmas and what Jesus did for us, it made me want to cry with gratitude. To think, that the Lord of all space and time, who could do ANYTHING he wanted, would love us so much that He would come down in the dirt and hardship to help us. He endured a human life as Jesus, when He could have just stayed in Paradise and left us to rot. Thinking about and remembering that makes Christmas so very special to a Christian. The incredible love holds meaning and emotion deeper than the ocean. It inspires love and devotion in return.
But so much of Christmas is NOT about Jesus. So it still slightly annoys me. The meaninglessness of stuff, which I learned a long time ago, makes me sad. Toys disappoint, even toys you’ve been wanting for a long time. Santa is an empty illusion. All the hype and buying before Christmas always ends in carts full of returns after Christmas. It’s like a hollow cookie. It looks so yummy!! And then, when you take that step and bite into it, there’s a little sweetness and a lot of emptiness.
That’s why kids get so grumpy. They know that toys are supposed to make them happy but, deep down, they know that “those” toys won’t. So they ask for more and more or throw fits because they want to be happy for Christmas. This is their time of year! But they never seem to quite make it there, and they haven’t figured out yet why.
So maybe when we have kids, instead of giving big gifts, we should “come down,” and live in the dirt like Jesus did. I want to figure out a way we can remember that Christmas isn’t about our own happiness, but the joy (there is a difference between happiness and joy) that comes over us slowly when we realize that we’re saved from death. It’s about sacrifice. It’s solemn and unbelievably amazing.
So maybe I’m a grinch. I don’t love Christmas itself, the commercialism, the santas, or the “make me happy” mantras. But I HAVE come to love what it means. May we all remember what it means and act on that instead of our own gratification.