Join Blog Contributor Rachel as she talks to us about ’tis the season.
**Warning, if you believe that celebrating Christmas is a good thing, you may not want to read this post.
‘Tis the Season
December is such a beautiful time of year, and yet it can be one of the harshest months for many reasons. For some, it can be hard trying to keep up with the hustle and bustle of the commercialized holiday norms (looking at you too Hanukkah!)
For others, it can be lonely, remembering a time when friends or family were around that maybe aren’t anymore. For yet another group, it can be an odd time surrounded by gifts and trees that we have no part in, and in some cases family who just doesn’t understand why.
The Pinnacle of Holidays
It’s no secret that Christmas is the pinnacle of holidays in most people’s eyes. Walk into pretty much any store and it’s full of Santa Claus and stockings from November 1st onward.
Chances are, that if you are reading this you fall into at least one of the groups I mentioned above and are either considering or have committed to no longer celebrating Christmas in your home.
For us, we stopped celebrating Christmas before our kiddo was born, so he has never had the memories my husband and I have of waking up to gifts and celebrations with family. You’d think it would make this easier, but he has seen Christmas shown on a TV show or two, as well as the intense inundation of Christmas related wares in stores.
It has led him to ask questions and to try to adopt that part of our culture which has been interesting to explain to a 4-year-old.
In some ways it’s nice, we can tell him honestly that Santa is just a story like the books we read or shows we watch on TV. We’ll never have to deal with the dilemma of when to tell our child the truth after having lied to him for so many years.
On the other hand, it can be hard to explain why we are so different in the things we celebrate or don’t, especially when family members are still adjusting to our choices.
Behind the Holidays
In reality, no matter which group you fall into, chances are that you feel a bit off, maybe even sad this time of year. Some of you may be struggling with members of your family inside your home that still want to celebrate, or see no reason why you shouldn’t.
While I’m not in that boat, I constantly see the cries of those who are and can easily say that you are not alone. On the other side, if you are blessed to have friends and family who accept your choice to follow YHVH and to set aside celebrations that are not His, then I’m truly happy for you and I hope you will have the opportunity to encourage others around you.
Winter is a time when many expect to be happy, to be with loved ones, to find joy as if some magic is held here. There is a line in a movie I have always loved… “It’s an island babe, if you don’t bring it here, you won’t find it here.” I think the same is true now as well.
If we come into any season of our lives expecting some magical, miraculous experience to just come out of nowhere, chances are that we will be greatly disappointed, and what then? What does this do to our families as well?
If you are in the season where you are just now walking away from holidays like Christmas, you and your family may be feeling like some of the magic has been lost now.
The music is everywhere but you want to ignore it, the lights and decorations as well.
It feels weird and out of place, friends ask why your kids aren’t celebrating, teachers make it a school assignment to report on when you go back in January and it’s just hard isn’t it?
Some will recommend that as an alternative you pick up Hanukkah instead. While I won’t expound on our decision here, I would encourage you to take care when deciding what traditions to adopt and which to leave by the wayside.
If it ends up looking like Christmas with a new name, then it may very well not be a part of what YHVH has for us.
Others will tell you that “you just get used to it” or any other polite version of “suck it up” and mean well in doing so, but is this what we have to look forward to? Does YHVH really want us to trudge past the things of the world with our heads down until it’s over for another year?
This week I saw a meme that I really loved while considering all of this. It said, “If you choose not to have joy in the snow, you’ll have less joy in your life but still the same amount of snow.” How perfect is that?
Choose Joy Anyway
I’m not saying we should have joy in the worldly aspects of the cultural holiday season, but can we not have joy in spite of it? Why should we sit back and wait for it to pass? It certainly doesn’t make it go by any faster.
What if, instead of being caught up in the things we don’t have, we celebrate the beautiful things we do have? I can definitely appreciate no longer feeling guilted into spending money I didn’t have to buy all the things for all the people. My credit card thanks me too.
I can still recognize that certain people aren’t with me during this season of my life, but I take time to remember them throughout the year, this month doesn’t have to be an extra heavy dose of realized grief just because of a date.
I can still recognize the beauty of the creation YHVH has given us, enjoy the snow when it comes, the beautiful sunsets, and the natural wonder as everything rests waiting for a new spring and new life.
I can enjoy the time off from worldly obligations to spend with my family playing games, going on an adventure, exploring this new part of the world we’re in. I don’t have to hide away or take on solemnity just because I don’t celebrate Christmas, and neither do you!
No matter where you are in your journey, which group you may fall into, I hope you are able to find joy in your snow this December. ♥
CHIME IN: What does this season mean for you?
Want to read more from Rachel? Visit her blog, Yeshua’s Roots