Monday, December 12, 2011

Changing the Soundtrack

Posted by Lisa Laree on Beer Lahai Roi

For the most part, I love Christmas music.  I only listen to it between Thanksgiving and Epiphany, so it kind of stays special, but there are a few Christmas songs that just make me cringe.  As in, if the song comes on, I'll turn the radio off or walk out of the store.  Songs in that category include:

The Christmas Shoes
I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas
Happy Christmas

The Christmas Shoes is on that list because it's plot manipulation at its worst...sappy and unbelievable and I CAN'T STAND THAT SONG.

I Want a Hippopotamus is just unbelievably annoying.

However,  John Lennon's Happy Christmas is in a class by itself...a depressing Christmas song. A cynical Christmas song.  An everything-that-Christmas-should-never-be Christmas song.

But guess which song seems to be my silent personal soundtrack this holiday season; the refrain that plays over and over in the back of my head.

So this is Christmas...

I can't seem to hit the eject button.  Because this Christmas just doesn't feel...right.

I've tried a bit to figure out what's going on.  We are not following our typical Christmas pattern this year; we usually travel and visit with family; this year we're staying home.  We are down one young 'un in the house this year; the slow progression to the empty nest has kicked in.  We have a remodeling project that has resulted in a very untidy house and seriously cramped my decorating for the holidays style.  All of which I think is contributing to the refrain.

But, more than that, for some reason I have become hyper aware of the pain of folks around me.  The people that come for help to our church food distribution center; the pleas for help with gifts for children on the church communication cards that we enter each week; the images of emaciated children from Africa.  Orphans in Moldova, foster kids in Alabama...all with needs much greater than mine or any of my family's.  Shopping for gifts...even small ones...for folks who really don't need anything is getting harder each year.  Part of me really wants to take what we spend on family gifts and give it away.

And yet.  Christmas is a family bonding time, and there are those in the family whose love language is gifts.  To tell them they should not give or expect to receive gifts would be cruel.  And I have wonderful memories of both giving and receiving gifts that mean something...should that not be extended to my kids and (future possible) grandkids?

I am struggling to stay focused on the Miracle of Christmas, the Incarnation.  The decorations or lack thereof, the clean or cluttered house, the right or wrong choice of gifts, the Christmas eve service that is more trendy than traditional...none of that affects the Miracle one whit.

God looked at His creation and knew we would not be able to redeem ourselves, and so came to live amongst us and die as one of us so that we could be restored and live with Him.

THAT is Christmas.  Get out of my head, John Lennon.

1 comment:

  1. Funny that you should comment on "Happy Christmas". This year, I'm finding particular significance in that song. It so clearly represents the feeling of Christmas for those whose focus falls short of recognizing God. Yes, we are to love one another and "do unto" one another, but our best efforts will all fall short of perfect from a human perspective. It takes God, and God's love.
    Joyous blessings of the Christmas season to you, and to all you touch!