Why I Love (H-A-T-E) the Holidays

I have a love-hate relationship with the holidays.  It’s the expectations and the hoopla.  I shy away from events full of expectations and hoopla because there’s so much time and energy put into it, and in a moment, it’s over.  Election Day?  It’s over and we go on with our lives.  Black Friday is almost as big as the holiday itself.  Is it just me, or do things seem crazy?

Other than twinkly lights, vacation from school, kids all home, and Bing Crosby, the holidays give me angst.  Gift-giving is my least favorite love language, and cooking is my least favorite domestic task. These things cause stress for me at holiday time.

Decorating and quality time?  I’m all about that.  But my kids aren’t too hip on sitting in the midst of sparkly lights and sharing the depth of their hearts while singing Christmas carols Bing style on Christmas morning.

And My husband told me not doing Christmas a few years ago was not an option.  Scrooge.

The holidays are the best and the worst rolled into one.  It’s some of the best human behavior on display, acknowledging intrinsic value of others and life.  People helping people, etc.  Memories being made, traditions bringing joy. For a few minutes, there’s peace.

Then there’s the reality check.  After the hoopla, life still goes on.  Cancer is still cancer, emptiness is still emptiness, and broken relationships are still broken.  Baby Jesus is still the Savior and still will be accepted or rejected.

This morning, as I stand on the brink of the holiday season, I look around and my children Imagehave everything.  More shirts, video games, or electronics will not make them happier than they are today. I hate having to come up with things to buy them just to put something under the tree.  Really, I hate this part of the holidays.

My oldest spent Christmas Day in a Mexican orphanage five years ago.  It impacted her deeply.  She spent the summer in an orphanage in Guatemala and on December 29, she’ll be returning.  Only this time, she’ll be going to the jungle to translate for medical teams assisting babies dying of malnutrition.  She asked if we could buy shoes to take along to two little boys in the orphanage.

You bet. I like the way this girl thinks.

I hate the slogan “Jesus is the reason for the season,” because He’s the reason for every day, for every living breath.  He’s the reason a mother can watch her child fight for their life when cancer overtakes their body.  He’s the reason a father can cook dinner for his children when their mother has chosen meth over their family.   He’s the reason a person can change their behavior because it causes havoc for those around them.

No matter how we dress it up, life is a choice with or without Christ every day.

More than people need Pinterest for the next recipe, they need the power, the truth, and compassion of Jesus who is not just a baby, but a King.

I’m challenged at how to give Christ as a gift this holiday season.   When I die, boxes of trinkets and Christmas ornaments won’t mean a thing those left behind.  So how can I make Christmas a daily experience of joy, giving the gift of Christ to others every day of the week?

I’ll be thinking about this as I listen to Bing inspire me to hang up the winter decorations this weekend.  But I want to hear your ideas, too.  How do you give the gift of Christ beyond Christmas, on the other 364 days of the year?

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8 thoughts on “Why I Love (H-A-T-E) the Holidays

  1. crownofglory

    I agree with your thoughts about the holidays. There really is a more meaningful way to celebrating it! A way that will be life changing for us!

    • brendayoder

      Lidj, it’s always a challenged. I can’t think of other countries being as consumer driven as America’s. I’d love to hear your perspective on the holidays in the your part of the world!

  2. Ingrid Lochamire

    I’m right there with you, Brenda! Well put. And though gift-giving IS my love language, I prefer to give the gift of time, laughter, unconditional love and joy. If I choose to “be merry” from Thanksgiving through New Year, why not continue it for the rest of the year? Sounds like a good New Year’s resolution to me!

  3. Marian

    I have been thinking along some of these same lines. I’m praying about who we could invite for the holidays who is in need one way or the other. The hoopla gets to me as well…so consumer-oriented. Dont you wonder how God views this? He must be sad or even angry because we don’t give Him first place. After all, He is a jealous God. Can’t wait to chat more when we get together.

  4. Michael A. Yeakey II

    We have always stressed with our children the importance of the Christmas holiday as the nativity of the Savior, but sometimes it feels as if we’re fighting a losing battle againsts the consumer culture that obscures the lasting impact of the season. This year, we are having our kids draw each other’s names for a gift exchange rather than attempting to get a gift for each other — and the cost is limited to $10 per kid. They complain, of course, especially when told that they can’t just buy $10 worth of chocolate for each other!

    Note, too, that I’m writing this on “Black Friday,” and not on a mobile phone. We do seek the narrower way of ignoring the crush of bargain hunters on this weekend.

    We have the material things we need; we’re comfortable; we’re well-fed (some of us TOO well fed!). And we have Christ. What more do we need?

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