The decorations are up. The baking is done. Candy dishes are filled. Presents are wrapped. It is the eve of the holiday, and yet, all I hear is, “It doesn’t feel like Christmas.”
In our area of the country, there is no snow. Yet. We have a 50-50 chance that we may have a white Christmas if this depressing rain turns to snow. Is that why it doesn’t feel like Christmas? I have lived in places that it never snows, so I don’t think the icy white stuff has anything to do with the feeling.
Our almost 20-year-old son was running out the door yesterday to start his holiday shopping. “It doesn’t feel like Christmas, Mom.”
“I hear you. But, you are not a five-year-old anymore,” I replied.
“Maybe that’s it. See you later.”
Throughout the day, I kept hearing the same sentiment – verbally and over social media. Like it’s an epidemic.
It doesn’t feel like Christmas. And I wondered why.
People change. Life will change. Traditions change.
I thought back to when it felt like Christmas for me. Immediately I was transported to my childhood. Church, Santa, presents under the tree and a magical time in the air. A bit of snow on the ground, my favorite cookies and relatives – that is what Christmas felt like.
As a child, I didn’t have the worries I have today. Christmas just happened. Grown-ups feel things like financial duress, job stress, deployments of loved ones, distance by the miles, divisions with friends and family, the death of dear loved ones – and on and on it goes; not to mention it seems each year the Christmas buying season gets shoved further down our throats. Holiday displays before Halloween, obnoxious, cutesy commercials and pressures of perfect holidays with non-dysfunctional families fill the airwaves. Headlines scream about Black Friday parking lot fights and skipping Thanksgiving dinner in order to shop – no wonder a good portion of adults are jaded.
As a little one, I don’t remember the Vietnam War, the passing of relatives, financial issues, racial tension or family strife. But I know all of that happened. My childhood memories are of endless summers, bike rides, a child-like freedom that I no longer feel as a grown woman. Now an adult, I read daily about wars, death, theft and violence. It’s hard to get excited about a holiday when so many people are in pain – physically, emotionally and spiritually. It’s hard to be excited when people are rude on the road, rude to your face, rude online; just rude in general. On the occasion good news is shared, it doesn’t last long in the headlines or the person doing the good deed is questioned for their motives.
It would be so nice to have one day in the year to truly enjoy peace on Earth, and good will to others. In a world that sees division, death, distance and discord, it would be so refreshing to be five years-old again, and not be burdened by the world. To just be.
Maybe that’s the sentiment. Change is constant – good or bad. We reflect on a time when things seemed to be a bit more simple and happy; when Christmas meant hope, joy, peace and love.
I don’t think it was coincidence that Christ came to earth as a baby. New life means hope. If there is anything this world could use right now, it is hope. And love. And faith. All things the Babe in the manger represented. Ironically, three things that a child possesses and generously shares.
And I am betting if us grown-ups behaved more like kids and shared a little hope with others, loved a bit more and had a little faith, it would restore those feelings.
May the hope, peace, love and joy of the Christ child let you feel like it’s Christmas again.
© Lynne Cobb – 2014