Saturday, December 27, 2014

My Love/Hate Relationship With Christmas: Confessions of a Christmas-holic

It is two days after Christmas and I have been reduced to a drooling, mumbling, pajama-clad couch potato. In December a few years ago, I made a trip to the dermatologist where my daughter, Stephanie, works. I had burning, itching hives covering my neck and chest that felt like a hundred stinging ants.  “Well, looks like you were here last December for the same thing,” said the doctor.  “That’s it! It has been confirmed. I’m allergic to Christmas,” I replied.

I love Jesus. I serve Him as closely and faithfully as I can, but I have a love/hate relationship with Christmas. I love everything about it. I hate the amount of work that it entails. I confess, I am responsible for much of my Christmas to-do list. All those cookies I bake – dozens and dozens – to give to neighbors, family and friends. And my family reproduces like sex-starved rabbits, so my gift list is a continually growing, demanding parasite.

Thank God gift giving is my love language. Otherwise, I would eradicate that leech-list – set fire to it and cackle like the Wicked Witch of the West. Even though I purchase sale items all year long, I find myself scrambling and searching in a psychotic frenzy at the last minute every December. This year I had tons of little boy gifts, but many more little girls than boys in the family. Seriously, though, why can’t a three-month-old baby girl get a set of Hot Wheels as a gift? Who makes these rules anyway? I have a confession: little boys are easier to buy for than little girls, but men are harder to buy for than women. That is my truth, so there!

Then all the meals! Somehow I manage to keep up my usual “everyone-comes-to-my-house-for-lunch-after-church-every-Sunday” ritual. I had not fully recovered from all that cooking/baking I did for Thanksgiving when the kitchen fairy – that cursed, wretched, slave-driving creature – reminded me I have much to do in December.

And don’t ask me why I drive myself to be the Queen of Christmas Decorating. I even do the front yard d├ęcor with lights and everything. But I have learned a valuable, sanity-saving secret. Let there be no item set out at Christmas – or any other time – that is more precious to you than the tiny hands that may break it. My younger self was not so gracious about this. But now I let my grandkids and great-grandkids rearrange my village, take baby Jesus out of the nativity, touch Santas with not-so-clean fingers….you get the idea. And every year, something gets broken. And I always ask the tearful offender, “What do I love more? You or (that thing) you broke? Of course, I love you more.”

To make this December worse, I started off the first week with some coughing, achy, sneezing, fatigued virus from hell. It lasted a week. Then the Sunday night before Christmas – after having thirty plus people here that day for lunch and to play that steal-the-gift game – I got a horrid bug that kept me up most of the night with some demonic minion twisting a burning knife in my stomach.

I had to babysit a grandson Monday and Tuesday before Christmas. To top that off, my youngest daughter, Heather’s, husband ended up in ICU, so I had those three grandkids too. I was facing a Christmas Eve meal and festivities for 20-30 family, plus preparing a complete meal to take to the in-laws in another city on Christmas day.

Heaving a heavy sigh while every bone and muscle in my sixty-six year old body groans in protest, I am forever grateful for Jesus Christ, Incarnate God, who chose to be born as a helpless newborn with a destiny to sacrifice His mortal, human body because of His profound love for mankind. Words are inadequate to express the depth of my love for my Lord and savior.

This Christmas, I am especially grateful that my son-in-law, Bobby, got released from the hospital to be with his family for Christmas. Also, my sweet grandson, Nathanael, and his wife, Jessica, handed me a box of Cerrata’s Chocolates, and said, “Our other Christmas gift is that we’re going to have a baby.”  A miracle I have been praying about for almost two years. Only a handful know the significance of that announcement. 

And because I love my family and friends, I will always look forward to Christmas. 

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