I was one of those Christmas crazy people. Making cookies, decorating the whole house, mailing Christmas cards on time and blasting holiday tunes the day after Thanksgiving. I was fully in the season as soon as it began.
But notice I said I “was.” That was before I started working retail.
Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate my job. And a bookstore is not typical retail. It’s lower key than other retail jobs I’ve worked but it is still retail. I don’t exactly know how retail impacts Christmas crazy. Maybe customers frenzy to get the perfect gift for their loved ones. Or maybe it’s the long hours on your feet and working at times you would normally be home with your family (like Christmas Eve). Now, I don’t bake cookies, I have to remember to load the Christmas music on my iPod and I laugh when someone asks me if I sent out Christmas cards.
Although this sounds like a bad thing, my diminished Christmas crazy has turned out to be a good thing. It has made me Christmas sober.
Since I don’t have as much free time as I normally do, I’ve had to reevaluate my Christmas activities. Before, Christmas wasn’t Christmas if I wasn’t cheery and bubbly and it a whirlwind of activity. Now, I’ve learned that Christmas is not only that, but it can be thoughtful and reflective. Since I have less time, I have to be more selective. I now have to look for activities that aren’t just my holiday traditions, but ones that are meaningful.
Like taking two minutes to dance to Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas with my husband in the middle of my kitchen. Or whispering to my children what I got their siblings for Christmas and watching the happiness on their faces for a gift that isn’t even theirs. Or calling someone to say Merry Christmas instead of writing out a card.
The reality is that no matter what activities I partake in during the holidays, the reason I celebrate is still the same. No, it’s not the day Jesus was born but it is the time we recognized that He came as a baby to be our Savior. He is God Incarnate, God with us and the reason for glad tidings of great joy. And that is sobering. It makes the heart deeply grateful. Jesus’ arrival is the frame of all our Christmas activities.
When we thinking of the savior’s birth, we think of the angelic chorus announcing His arrival to the shepherds and the glory filling the heavens. But there is another side to His story: the manger side. The unusual and inconvenient arrival of this precious baby. Even Mary, after hearing that her baby would be the Messiah, pondered the news in her heart. Not all of Jesus’ story was exciting and joyous, but that doesn’t diminish its importance.
So I am Christmas sober. My celebrations will be meaningful and thoughtful activities, remembering that Jesus is the most important gift I’ve received and I’m okay with that. It took me a while to reach this point, when I gave up on trying to work myself up into a green and red glittery froth. Now that I have, it seems I’m looking at the holidays with new eyes.
A Joy to the World type Christmas is great but so is an “all is calm, all is bright” Christmas. “Peace on earth, goodwill to men” is just as meaningful as “Christmas bells are ringing.”
If you are Christmas sober this year, embrace it. Find meaning in the quiet moments as well as the joyous ones. Most of all, enjoy whatever kind of Christmas you have because Christmas is about Christ.
About Terri’s Latest Book Release
All Brea Sutton wants for Christmas is for something to go right. Instead of a magical family holiday, her parents are going to Hawaii, ruining Brea’s plans. For the first time in her life, Brea will be celebrating Christmas alone.
The office holiday gift exchange gives her an opportunity to recapture the joy of Christmas…until she picks the name of the most challenging person in the office. Undeterred, Brea is determined to find the perfect Christmas gift. Her quest unearths some surprising truths and she discovers Christmas cheer comes in very unexpected ways.
Available at Amazon.com
Terri J. Haynes, a native Baltimorean, is a graphic designer and avid knitter. She loves to read and is storyteller at heart. Her passion is to draw readers in the story world she has created and to bring laughter and joy to their lives. Terri is a 2010 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis contest finalist, and a 2012 semi-finalist. She is also a 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Quarterfinalist. She holds a certificate in Creative Writing and Masters degree in Theology. Terri is a licensed minister and pastors a church with her Retired Army husband. She has three children, who beg her not to kill their favorite characters. She lives in Southern Maryland just outside Washington, DC. www.terrijhaynes.com