I was wondering what to write about this Sunday when the above quote was a status update on my long distance friend Lanier's Facebook page.
For some reason, I'm not "into" Christmas this year. Have no idea why... Last year I put all the decorations up with glee but this year the Christmas tree ornaments have only brought about the smallest of smiles.
Perhaps as the Season progresses I'll feel a little less Bah Humbug and a little more Ho, Ho, Ho. If nothing else, I will decorate the house (even if a sizable part of my collection remains in boxes this year). I'll play Christmas music and watch Christmas movies and read favorite Christmas books.
But sometimes Christmas is just... difficult.
For the Holidays remind us of those missing from the table, whether they have "gone on to their reward" or only to another part of the country. Those of us with no small children around the tree this time of year feel nostalgia for the magic of Christmas seen only through the presence of a child... whether our own childhood memories or those of our kids.
Both Thanksgiving and Christmas can bring stress when we are forced around the dinner table with those we may not particular want to be near... and that is even more difficult when we are related by marriage or through a shared blood line. We bite our tongue and remember to let the love of God shine through us to them.
I love that quote from Wendell Barry above for it reminds me that none of us are living the life we would have chosen. No, not one of us. Perhaps some come closer to others but in every life there is... dissatisfaction.
I think it was C. S. Lewis who reminded us that God does not give us everything we want while living in this world for otherwise we would have no desire for Heaven. I can't even begin to wrap my thoughts around what Eternity with Him will look like. Not only Heaven but a New Earth.
We are told mankind cannot imagine the great things He has in store for us. Amazing. I'm pretty good at imagining.
So this Christmas Season I will dwell on the One whose birth it is really all about, anyway. Even if most of the movies on television center around Santa and his elves and his family and Rudolph. Although you have got to love Rudolph.
I plan to sip a latte at Starbucks, enjoy a breakfast out at Cracker Barrel with their fireplace crackling and County Christmas music in the background, perhaps perusing Christmas issues of favorite magazines at Barnes and Noble, or even a morning at Panera with a scone and coffee while writing a few Christmas cards to far off loved ones.
I have learned that Christmas does not have to be perfect to be good. Now I only have to practice that.