I really hate Christmas. Not the event behind the holiday, but the holiday itself. It quit being fun sometime around the point I hit high school--seems to be too much work for little to no fun. If I could, I'd skip the whole shebang.
I hate decorating. It's a mess, and it disrupts the kids' routines, which causes really terrible behavior. It's pretty for maybe the first day or so, and then it just gets...tired.
I hate spending time with my family. I think if you combine two of my aunts' IQ with that of the only uncle left, you might reach room temperature. And they're closed-minded, to boot: I've been told that I'm wrong because I work outside the home, and that I'm going to hell because I'm not a member of their splinter of a splinter of a splinter of a legitimate denomination of Christianity, and because the kids were baptized as babies.
I hate the timing. It's a stressful enough time of the year with the end of semester around two weeks before hand.
I hate spending money on gifts for people I hold in highest contempt. I don't like spending money on gifts, period, but having to spend money on people I despise tends to spoil what enjoyment I have in giving the kids things that I know they'll love.
I hate the music. It started at the beginning of November, in some stores. It'll be everywhere, now that Thanksgiving is over. I have one CD I really like: one of the Christmas albums put out by Frank Sinatra, long, long ago, and the music itself is ruining my enjoyment of the man's voice. I think the worst part is all of the stupid, secular music. Maybe I just need to find my Handel's Messiah CD...
I hate all the trappings of the holiday.
The trappings detract from the reality behind the mess: that the holiday is supposed to remind us of Who was born, supposedly at this time, if you listen to the Church, and ignore the Biblical evidence to the contrary.
Advent has become more special to me as a meditative period since I had the kids. Even though both children were born early, I can identify with Mary during her last month of pregnancy: the anticipation; the anxiety, both about birth and about taking care of something so very small and helpless; the weariness that accompanies the last part of pregnancy...and for Mary, knowing that her Child is just that much more special than most. My children are very dear to me, and I worry and fret over them. I can only imagine how much magnified that must have been for Mary.
The holiday isn't the food. It isn't spending time with family. It isn't the gifts. It isn't the music.
All of that takes peoples' attention off of what it is: the great gift of God's own Son sent to us.
And on this first Sunday of Advent, I find myself despising the holiday that we have even more than usual, and find my thoughts drifting toward Mary, and wondering just how much I had in common with her in my thoughts and feelings during the last months of my pregnancies...and feeling sorrow for how her story ended up, and how much grief the end of her Son brought her.
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