Last Christmas… I sobbed, wailed, packed up and tried to leave, slammed lids on boxes and was a snot. The Christmas of my 29th year, I acted like a 7 year old on a steady diet of fudge and ice cream. I was Brittney Spears with a shaved head. I was David Hasslehof with a cheeseburger. I was crazy. I don’t remember exactly what brought it out, something about lights, I think, but what was really percolating deep down was loneliness. I had a fit because I was alone for Christmas.
I mean, I didn’t have a someone for Christmas. I didn’t have a mistletoe mate. I didn’t have a Christmas sweetheart. I wasn’t alone in that regard– TONS of people spend Christmas without a significant other. I had company in my loneliness. I think it was that it was the first Christmas alone. The first one is the hardest, I’ve been told, the first after a parent or grandparent dies, the first after the kids get married and move off, the first living out-of-state.
It’s Stress Free Family Holiday Month according to the bizarro calendar. Most people have at least one person at their family function that they KNOW will drive them nuts. That uncle that won’t shut up about politics. That aunt with the perfect children she’d like to compare to your miserable life. The one that gets drunk. The one that scowls. The one that wants to make everyone else as unhappy as they seem to be.
I wasn’t alone, really. I had my mom and dad, sister and brother-in-law, aunt, grandmother. They were all sharing in the festivities and trying to enjoy the day.
I wasn’t alone, really. I had a best friend who came over Christmas night. That was good for me. That was healthy for me. I didn’t remember to be lonely after that.
I wasn’t alone, really. I had my girls there. I got to see them excited about Santa presents. I watched them light up as they opened their stockings. I heard them giggle at the fun toys and ooh and ahh over the clothes. I got sweet kid hugs.
I wasn’t alone, really. I had Emmanuel – God WITH us. It’s difficult to remember that we have an ever-present friend when flesh and blood people ignore us, or gloss over our painful situation. Last year, my life felt like solitary confinement.
That was me last year. I was lonely. I needed everyone else to wallow with me. I’m not proud of it; I’m just telling it like it is. I was the stressor last Christmas day. How can we have a stress free holiday this month?
1) Keep in mind that everyone has a reason NOT to rejoice this Christmas. There are financial difficulties. People have lost loved ones. They’ve buried pets and relationships and jobs and dreams.
2) Keep in mind that everyone has a reason TO rejoice this Christmas. We’re still here. We’ve been blessed with life, with family and friends, with Jesus. Seeing that Jesus came for all of us, take potential affronts to your person graciously. If necessary, count slowly to 10 before responding and pray.
3) To steal a line from an Avalon song “Don’t save it all for Christmas Day.” Unlike the song, I’m suggesting we don’t save all our love and goodwill for one day a year AND we don’t save all our hurt, animosity, annoyance and grievances for Christmas day, either. I had a tantrum last year because I was letting my hurt build all year. I didn’t let it out, until it exploded in a full-fledged screaming outburst.
Family holidays are stressful. This Christmas, manage your stress by not being the Johnson family or the Smith family or the Turner family, but by being the Family of Christ.
Have you ever had a Christmas drama with your mama? a fight with your family? do you think the ghosts of family feuds past can be overcome?