Community//

Merry Exhalation

One past whirlwind December day I was out running errands. I was only slightly frantic, my hurried breath only occasionally  deliberate as I focused, focused, focused on the many Christmas tasks ahead. The list was long, the time was short. But I believed in miracles. No matter that two of our then young children were […]

One past whirlwind December day I was out running errands. I was only slightly frantic, my hurried breath only occasionally  deliberate as I focused, focused, focused on the many Christmas tasks ahead. The list was long, the time was short. But I believed in miracles.

No matter that two of our then young children were striving to put things  in my cart faster than I could take them out. Or that my Costco card had slipped to the bottom of my “why did I buy this” purse.  I could not find my card! It was hard to find anything in the clutter convention that had become this purse. The purse was clearly too big. It was so big it had entered large tote bag territory.  It was so big that a friend had jokingly asked if I was raising another child in it it. Whatever. I was stressed, but I was trying to remain calm, partially because Christmas songs everywhere kept telling me that this was “the most wonderful time of the year!!”

Maybe I was tired, but some of  the songs felt a little like pressure. They were reminding me that on Christmas Day we humans should  be the cheeriest, out in the snow-iest, marshmallow toasting-est, party hosting-est, and chestnut roasting-est of all.  

Sigh. I had never, to my recollection, seen a chestnut. I’m sure some and come and gone, but until that point, it was all stealth in the chestnut department. And roasting them? Huh?

Whoever wrote these songs meant well, of course. And I actually  do love Christmas songs. But some of them did seem to be writing Christmas checks for expectations that my reality elves couldn’t cash. The  background music in every store I was in seemed to be begging me to “Have a Merry Christmas! Come On! Have One Already! Do Whatever it Takes!”  

I looked at my little children. Were there visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads that I had not fulfilled? Was there a recipe for sugar plums? A website?  How was I going to create the perfectly trimmed Christmas of their supposed dreams? Or was this actually my dream, fueled by Pinteresting images?

I tried not to worry about ideals, trying to just zoom in on what was the current deal.  We wrapped, sang, trimmed, and hugged. We created, spilled, and cleaned in a sort of forever loop. We put lights up. We looked at lights as we drove around.  We laughed till tears sprung from our eyes, and sometimes tears just sprang from our eyes. We made mistakes. We forgave. We “family-ed”. It was all tender and a little chaotic and it was all good.

But one night, the Christmas perfection gremlin came knocking  again. My husband and children were asleep and I was in the kitchen, finishing up the final touches on my Yule log. Just kidding. My yule log of yesteryear was apparently on sabbatical.

Instead,  I had purchased a Christmas sheet cake with little frosting reindeers and a sleigh. I stared at that cake in the semi-darkness of my kitchen. The perfection gremlin whispered “You didn’t make a homemade cake.” I considered. This was true.  “Annnd….you are far away from your parents and siblings. You miss them so much.” Hmm…. also true. “Don’t you feel a little bit sorry for yourself?” I did! Was it time to throw a pity party? Suddenly I had a hankering for a fresh dollop of frosting reindeer.

I got up and walked to the family room. I looked at our Christmas tree. Maybe the cake was sub par, maybe some family members were far… but there was that one… star…on our average, perfectly happy Christmas tree. That tree star was shiny. It seemed to be shining with love, acceptance and hope….

Recently, I looked into the meaning of the word Christmas, and it felt like a  little exhale. Here is what I learned:

Christ means “Messiah”.  Messiah means anointed. Anciently, persons who were anointed were elected, designated, and given authority.  

“Mas” has several translations. One is: “Go, you are sent.” Another focuses on the celebration of Christ and His sacrifice for us.

If we put this all together, when we wish someone a Merry Christmas, perhaps what we are saying in essence is “There is someone (glorious)  in charge, someone anointed. Go, you are sent to celebrate and share this good news of Christ.”

To our great exhalation breath, Christmas is not, after all,  a singular day of the year, reserved for pressure. Christmas is a reminder of the one who made life, love, and forgiveness possible all year. It’s the observance of our ability to go forth to love, serve, bless, obey, hug and grow. This is the Christ created year round formula for happiness. In other words: We’re all going to be OK even, if necessary, without the icicle lights. He’s the truest light we forever need.

Next time I am wished a Merry Christmas, I want to remember this  deeper meaning.

It’s not the chestnuts roasting, it’s about the party He’s  forever hosting.

And we’re all invited…

Merry Christmas (no pressure:)

    The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
    Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

    You might also like...

    Community//

    I Was “Fake Rich”

    by Theresa Nguyen
    Community//

    How Is Telemedicine Improving Healthcare For Patients

    by Jilea Hemmings
    Community//

    Lessons From An Anxious Expat

    by Suzanne Ayotte

    Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

    Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

    Thrive Global
    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

    - MARCUS AURELIUS

    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.