Honoring Christmas

Last weekend I drove to Des Moines with my Sister and my Mom’s sisters to visit my niece for the day/night. It was an incredibly quick trip but did the heart good. We had a lot of fun and a lot of laughs…and ate a lot. Before I left, I told my wife that I would not be upset if Christmas showed up in our house while I was gone. Yes, it was a not so subtle hint, but also I was serious.

Social media is pretty split right down the middle (like the rest of everything else in the world right now) about when the appropriate time to decorate for Christmas is. Every year its quite a cacophony of noise about picking out Halloween costumes as the retailers are clearing shelves to put up Christmas candy. It apparently feels as if this is happening sooner every year, when in reality it is not, time is just moving faster. The world is moving faster. It has become increasingly difficult to know what side we sit on because even if we voice our opinion or even feel very strongly about that opinion (not just about Christmas) we are going to upset someone’s apple cart. When we start worrying about what others think or the ramifications of voicing our opinion we stop listening to our integrity. The very definition of integrity is a state of being whole and undivided. When we start responding and reacting to things the way other people THINK we should, we wholly and completely lose sight of ourselves.

Having said that I would like to go on record to state that you should start celebrating Christmas whenever you damn well want to. This sign hung in my Mom’s house, year round.

Because my Mom lived with Christmas in her heart 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. What does that mean to you, to know that a person honored Christmas all day, everyday not just on Christmas Day? She believed in the magic of it. She believed in the calm and the bright. She believed in the miracle of it. Sure, some of that was how she was raised, but the most beautiful part about all of it was how much she still believed in Santa Claus. When we were younger, but old enough to know differently, Santa still showed up at family parties. There was no one in that room, not even the little kids, who were more excited about his presence. She believed with a fierceness that I have never witnessed in another human being. What did she believe in? She believed in the magic and the miracle.

There was a debate recently on my Facebook feed, about what day Christmas should be put up/decorated. I respect and appreciate everyone’s points of view on pretty much literally everything, even politics to some degree. It may not be in line with how I feel or view things, but I can respect peoples differences. For some reason this one struck a nerve that I have not quite been able to reconcile. You see, the last weeks of my Mom’s life, which was in March of 2020, we put a Christmas tree up in her room. She was mostly unresponsive at this point so I will never know if she knew it was up or if she felt the presence of Christmas in her heart, but I have chosen to BELIEVE that she did. Our Christmas will never be the same without her in fact it will be very hard but in my heart it feels like the longer I can experience Christmas in my vision, the closer I can feel to her.

Every single day of her life she lived with nothing more than belief. Belief she would get well. Belief she would see all of the milestones of her grandchildren’s lives. Belief that the Cubs would win another world series. Belief that she was not dying. Belief that she would see another Christmas. No one I have ever met in my entire life has loved Christmas as much as my Mom. Maybe her Mom. But after all of these years I finally figured out why it was so magical to her. Because for one brief moment in the year everyone was kind to each other. Everyone made time for each other. Everyone gave gifts from the heart. My Mom did not feel like such an outsider on the days that the rest of the world acted the way she always felt in her heart. Every day was Christmas for my Mom but unfortunately the world doesn’t work that way. That has never been as apparent as it has the past few years. After New Years, we get back to our old routines, our old ways of treating others as well as ourselves and we forget the meaning of Christmas. So she would have to go back to feeling like the only person in the world with Christmas in her heart. What a lonely feeling.

So…I came back from Des Moines, from being in a mob of people who acted like it was Black Friday and I wanted to scream at them at the top of my lungs, YOU ARE MISSING THE POINT, but no one would have listened. I came back home to a house full of Christmas and it felt a little bit like a hug from Jesus himself. It means a lot that I have a partner in life who hears me and who listens but more than that is that I can sit with Christmas for longer than the 4 weeks that half of the world believes is the acceptable time to honor and celebrate the holiday.

As a Christian, if the true meaning of Christmas is the celebration of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the celebration of Gods ultimate gift to us, who on Earth are we to say that it should only be celebrated during these specific days of the year? That does not feel very Christian like to me. I am a little confused as well as to why Thanksgiving and Christmas cannot work in tandem or why you have to finish one before you can start the other.

Either way…Christmas is up at my house. And I love it. And I feel very calm and very bright but most of all I feel very confident that I am OK not following any preconceived notion that I can only celebrate or decorate after a certain day. If Christmas truly does live in my heart all the year then I think it is safe to say I can decorate whenever I want.

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