I sat across from Person last night, updating her on ALL THE THINGS that are happening in my life right now (some good, some bad, some heartbreaking) and said, “I would cry, but I have things to do.” It is Christmas time, after all. It’s a time of celebration! Lights & trees & presents & parties & BLAH BLAH BLAH. Her eyes got wide. She pointed at me and said “THAT RIGHT THERE,” & then proceeded to tell me about her mini breakdown the night before & how she said to her husband “I would cry, but I have to go shopping.”
It was in that moment that I found my Christmas peace.
‘Tis the season to be jolly, and OH MY GOD how I would love to be jolly right now, but I’m not, and I’m not the only one. Am I at peace now? YES, thanks to that moment, but filled with joy & glee? Not so much. And that’s ok.
BUT IT’S CHRISTMAS! CHRISTMAS IS THE BEST! FOR REASONS! ALL THE REASONS!!
Yeah, yeah it is, which is why I’ve held back tears and trudged forward and checked all the things off my to do list. BECAUSE CHRISTMAS, YOU GUYS.
I get it. I do. However, I can not, and will not, try to be jolly all damn day anymore. It’s exhausting. It’s unrealistic. It’s unhealthy.
And guess what. I can be sad if I want. I can wallow in it if I damn well please, because THAT’S the reason we Christians celebrate Christmas. Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus, the one born to meet us, exactly where we are, and fill us with hope so we can keep moving forward. Sweet little 8lb 6oz Baby Jesus was born, Son of God, to grow into a man who empathizes with our pain.
The Son of God, who, unlike our overly cheerful neighbors, is totally ok with us having a bad day or two during the never-ending party that the holidays seem to be. He’s totally cool with it if your house isn’t decorated as big and bright as your neighbors’. He’s cool with it if you need to turn off the carols for a little while and just enjoy some peace & quiet. He’s cool with it if you say no to a few Christmas parties.
Now, I’m not trying to say ANYTHING bad about the folks out there who are all YAY CHRISTMAS and filled with 24/7 glee. Good for you. Consider yourself blessed this year and count ALL of those blessings many times over. Enjoy your happiness & joy & eggnog. Have the Merriest Christmas ever. Seriously.
But for the rest of us? Hear this:
You have His permission to take a break from all the festivities. It’s ok. He’d actually prefer it, I bet, if you took a break from ALL THE THINGS and just chatted with Him for a bit. Let Him know how you’re doing. Ask Him for help, for comfort, for peace. That’s why Jesus was born in the first place.
& I get it, you may not be a Christian. You may celebrate Christmas for other reasons, or you may not celebrate it at all and yet are surrounded by ALL THE CHRISTMASING EVERYWHERE. It’s ok. You, too, can take a break.
The pressure is off. You don’t have to be happy during the most wonderful time of the year. You’re not the only one feeling lonely in the middle of the party. You’re not the only one grieving the death of a loved one while others are celebrating life. You’re not the only one who got a pink slip instead of a bonus. You’re not the only one dealing with an anxiety disorder and/or depression while others are fa la la-ing all over the damn place. You are not alone.
I’ma say it again.
You are not alone.
Maybe you can’t feel all the joy this Christmas season, and that’s ok.
But maybe, just maybe, now you can enjoy a little peace.