Christmas Spirit


For me, feeling “Christmassy” is a combination of happiness, surprise, awe, and love. It is an emotion, but it is not a state of being. I need to remember that point.

There have been years when a few weeks before Christmas, despite being in the season of Advent, I lacked the Christmas Spirit, and was somewhat disappointed in myself. The days didn’t feel any different or special. I did not become Scrooge or the Grinch, more like I was stuck in neutral. I can’t even say I was lost in the commercialization of Christmas.

This was not a result of holiday stress or the pressure to meet expectations. I had not set any expectations. I will admit that the demands of work and everyday chaos often play a role. I half joked with my work colleagues that my customers drained me of any spirit. I also wondered if society’s divisive nature as well as its waning belief in Jesus, was diluting the good vibes of my Christmas Season.

While writing this blog, the Christmas song, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year’ came on and I realized what was missing – there were no kids jingle belling, or wishes of good cheer, or gay happy meetings, only a few friends could come to call, no parties for hosting or marshmallows for toasting. I pictured Andy Williams singing, wearing one of his gaudy sweaters, and realize my ugly sweaters were nowhere to be found. How do I create the Christmas Spirit when the Holiday looks nothing like my prior experiences?

A step that starts me in the right direction is playing Christmas music, a lot! I even recreated my iTunes Christmas playlist onto Spotify at my daughter’s request. That task immersed me in Christmas music and lit a few embers. I know that watching, or maybe even attending, Midnight Mass will make a difference. I am certain that picking up family at the airport to spend the holiday with us will create a surge in Christmas Spirit; “hearts will be glowing when loved ones are near.”

“My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others” – Bob Hope

It is important to remember that even though Christmas may not feel the same, I must be intentional and be proactive. I must find or create a connection to my community of family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, church members, etc. It is a Merry Christmas and not just a Happy Christmas. Both happy and merry can mean “characterized by pleasure, joyous.” But happy tends toward quiet contentment and merry toward revelry. Making merry is a proactive mindset.  As my Father always told me, my job as a Dad is to make memories. Memories come from experiences.

Who knows, maybe this Christmas will be one of new traditions to inspire and bring an even deeper spiritual renewal. I can hold loosely onto some old traditions and let others go. However, I need to be ready to embrace what lies ahead in new traditions. I need to allow my heart to be stirred by a five-year-old girl belting out the words to ‘Hark the Herald Angles Sing.’

I have come to realize that my malaise has nothing to do with Christmas Spirit but was being out of alignment with the sacred inspiration cherished during the holiday season. Scripture has no written clause “thou must have a Christmas Spirit.” I want to celebrate the coming of Christ’s birth in the right mindset. To cut away the distractions of the season and open my heart to the hope Jesus brings to the world. I must align with what is sacred and focus on the Christ-child coming into our broken world that is in desperate need. Center myself on the reason for the season.

The stillness of the Advent season can actually provide the environment to be anchored with a focus that brings inner peace. I am letting Him bring me “good tidings of comfort and great joy.” Allowing Him to remind me that in the words of Isaiah (9-5,6a), unto us a child is born, a son is given, named Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.

The Christmas spirit is fleeting, but His promises endure forever. That is the state of being I am clinging to this Christmas.

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