It seems a lot of people feel stressed out over Christmas. Many are turned off by how commercial it is, and they are disgusted with the debt and waste. But when I was growing up, Christmas meant so much more than the stuff. When I look back, it wasn't the presents that made me happy. It was the family gatherings, the food, loud talking and visiting (which I complained about and now I’m glad I had to go).
As an adult, there has been the stress of shopping, cleaning, money and fatigue. Still, the older I get the more I know why Christmas matters to me: it is the giving and receiving joy, it’s memories building, and it’s loving people while I can. I’ve lost a lot of friends and family over the years, and during the holidays, their absences is magnified. Now when I think about Christmas, what I miss most is the large gatherings and thinking about who is no longer here. I think about family I grew up with, members who even if we weren’t particularly close, I realize how those holiday get-togethers impacted how I feel about family and other important relationships in my life.
The contrast between the holidays I experienced growing up and what my reality is today is so sharp that in recent years, I find myself sometimes sitting alone this time of year and mourning, sometimes crying, wishing I could have past holiday times back. I’ve lost so many people I care about during the holidays that I think more about loss than debt this time of year. I think more about creating memories with my family than shopping. I think more about remembering to be grateful for this year because I don’t know who might not be here next year.
This is the time of year, when I want to be especially caught up in what is good and right about us.
Read more holiday reflections from Sunday Scribblings members.