This post inspired by recent personal events and Erik Hare’s post, “Charlie Brown Christmas“, via the ensuing comments/replies, conversation over in his area of cyberland…
For many years now, due to either need or conscious choice, I’ve been rather up close and personal with the Spirit of the Season, more than the culturally adopted/accepted norms regarding the Celebration of the Season –
Each year that passes, I find myself spending less time shopping for the perfect gift and more time listening, supporting and or giving pep talks –
Seems a lot of wonderful folks, who carry the ‘spirit’ of the season with them through their daily activities throughout the year, somehow get waylaid by ‘expectations’ this time of year – and start ‘shoulding’ on themselves.
Now, if they are really invested in being harsher with themselves than they are with anyone else, not my job to tell them to stop – but, I do figure it’s my job to point it out, in case they aren’t thinking clearly and haven’t seen it for themselves….
More and more, due to financial hardship, illness, recent loss of a loved one or job, or home, stories of how either they can’t do what they usually do, or they want to do what they usually do, and fear that by engaging in such activities, they may hurt others – yes – so many of these types of stories reach my ears.
As you know, I am a tad familiar with each of the above challenges and I’ve passed many a holiday season struggling with one or more of them – Just to emotionally survive, I had to quit ‘shoulding’ on myself – and simply can’t bear to watch someone blindly engage it such self-torture – 🙂
So my usual response to such expressions of worry and how they are going to ruin Christmas (or the Winter Holiday Season, if they aren’t of the Christian faith, but have their own celebrations of faith in humankind’s inherent goodness, this time of year), is, well, rather harsh:
“Oh – Bull-puckey – Get over yourself and here’s what I see…”
Here’s my generalized pep-talk…
…for those who think they run the risk of single-handedly killing the Spirit of Christmas this year:
News Flash – you would really have to go to the dark-side, on purpose, to wreak the havoc you envision and have talked yourself into believing your actions, or lack of actions, will cause.
You aren’t at your usual level of ‘best’ just now – and are simply getting lost in thoughts of,
“What will those who depend upon me each year to bake, clean, host, gift, volunteer, etc. do, should I drop the ball, or quit carrying the world on my shoulders and let Atlas have his job back?”
First off, I hear Atlas is none too happy with the forced retirement you booted him into – he hates playing golf…
You’re not seeing what you do have to give, this year, easily and simply…
Years ago, my grandmother wished to gift me something, I felt was ‘too much’ and tried to ‘refuse’ delivery of –
Grandma asked me,
“Which is more blessed, to Give or to Receive?”
And I, sure I was on secure ground regarding my refusal, promptly replied,
“Then for Heaven’s sake, Quit doing me out of my blessing, already, will you?”
No matter your challenges this season, trust me, unless you’ve lived your life in excellent or surpassing Scrooge-like fashion for many years, there are those who would love to receive their blessings by doing something for you –
If you’ve been a Scrooge, well, you don’t have to keep being one –
If you haven’t and you are simply busy nurturing/nursing others, grieving, ill, struggling and/or can’t afford all or any of the ‘trappings’ this year, well, take your place in the circle and realize,
This year, it’s your Gift of Receiving to give, that others may be Blessed –
That’s a rather important job that you, in your worry, silence and wish to not ‘bother others, bring them down, ruin Christmas for’ are rather refusing to step up and do –
Hmmm…maybe you aren’t of the character I thought you were, after all –
Your Gift that you are in perfect position to Give IS STARING YOU RIGHT IN YOUR FACE! –
And yet, here you are telling me you have nothing to give this year.
Do you realize that I love you, but you’re sounding very silly, just now?
One last piece of advice – you may have, through your circumstances of birth, or journey, collected a few folks that don’t get or live the Spirit of Christmas – or have rather interpreted it into some twisted version of what you ‘should’ be doing, just now –
Well, this is the perfect time of year to take stock and see if you’re up to hanging around and supporting other Scrooges till they wake up and smell the coffee – or if you might just be okay with quietly letting that relationship fade away –
As Erik observed, in his reply that was the final ‘piece’ of the puzzle needed for me to get off my duff and edit/publish this little post I’ve been thinking about, for some weeks now – (thanks Erik!),
“Where I always go is “You shall know the just by their deeds.” To me, this season really brings out the best and worst in us and lets us know who really “gets it”.