Perhaps it’s the tacky Christmas ornaments  in the stores or the ridiculously awkward holiday photographs you get in the mail. Or perhaps it’s an article telling you how to avoid the holiday bloat?  It could also be the mad rush to make sure the Christmas card list is up to date and then writing and mailing them.  Or perhaps it’s the pressure of the  shopping. All of these can certainly be a warning that Christmas is coming – brace yourself!!

I’m wondering when we started to see Christmas as a time that we almost dread? When did we start to keep the form of Christmas and forget its essence? In India, I’ve watched the traditional homemade sweets turn into store bought ones. I’ve watched the real Christmas trees turn to plastic. I’ve watched the much longed for extended family celebrations turn into something we attend because we have to. Sadly, I’ve watched the gifts that were meant to be tokens of love, handmade or saved up for, become thoughtless stuff you buy online on credit.

Last minute shopping and card mailing today

Christmas has turned plastic?

Personally, I’ve opted out of it all – the sweets, the shopping, the gift-giving, the decorations. It’s a special home-cooked meal for the two of us that spells Christmas in our home.

For me, the joy of Christmas is the sense of anticipation I experience. Coming as Christmas does so close to the New Year, I love to use this time to reflect on the year that has been – its blessings and lessons. I enjoy the feeling of knowing that I’m getting another chance to work on myself in the year ahead.

My uncle, a Catholic priest, shared this with me many years ago:
Sharon’s Christmas Prayer
(by John Shea, The Hour of the Unexpected, Allan, Texas, Argus Communications, 1977)
christmas joy_1_1
She was five,
sure of the facts,
and recited them
with slow solemnity
convinced every word
was revelation.

She said
they were so poor
they had only peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
to eat
and they went a long way from home
without getting lost. The lady rode
a donkey, the man walked, and the baby
was inside the lady.

They had to stay in a stable
with an ox and an ass (hee-hee)
but the Three Rich Men found them
because a star lited the roof
Shepherds came and you could
pet the sheep but not feed them.
Then the baby was borned.
And do you know who he was?

Her quarter eyes inflated
to silver dollars,
The baby was God.

And she jumped in the air
whirled round, dove into the sofa
and buried her head under the cushion
which is the only proper response
to the Good News of the Incarnation.

Yes, for me, the real joy of Christmas is  reflecting on its true meaning – the knowledge of God-with-us – Emmanuel.

What does Christmas mean to you?

Today I’m the host for the Thursday Blog Hop at The Writer’s Post. Do write a post on the topic of ‘Christmas Joys or Christmas Woes’ and link here: