Monday, December 15, 2008

Enjoying a Not So Perfect Christmas

Okay, the box says "Pre-lighted Christmas Tree" and that's a lie. It was dark in the box when I opened it up and there was not a twinkle of light while I put it together. The print should read, "Just might light, at least a little, maybe most of them, but absolutely no way are all 350 lights coming on or staying on." That's what it should say, but that's a lot of ink. So, here I sit, looking at our wondrous tree with soft glistening lights of red, blue, green, white, and pink, and a nice dark ring about two thirds of the way up and another dark patch at the bottom. Not so nice.

I did my part, four times, checking each bulb and wire and connection, each time feeling less like Cratchit and more like Scrooge. I'm telling you, this tree is a humbug if I ever saw one. I went to K-Mart's after Christmas sale a couple of years ago and did my part for the Chinese economy, I bought this "so realistic you can almost smell it" tree. Well, it stinks now, that's for sure.

And maybe that's part of the problem with Christmas. We have idealized our traditions and celebrations so that the bar is set awfully high each year. We want everything to be just right, just so, and when something goes awry, and something always does, our disappointment is magnified. The turkey is dry, the tree won't light, Grandma's gift got lost in the mail, your son has to work on Christmas. And when it comes to celebrating Christmas, it is hard for us to just relax and roll with the punches.

A family Christmas is a wonderful explosion of joyful chaos, at least that's the way I remember it. So, I'm going to loosen up and let the lights shine where they will.

Joseph was looking for a Holiday Inn Express and had to settle for a barn, and he managed. It's not the trees or the trimmings or the trappings of the season that matter after all. If the Child arrives, it's Christmas.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ouch! That's Chinese for "Thanks very much for buying our tree!"

kh

Drew Hill said...

kh- Just to show our appreciation we should send along a nice fruitcake with our thank you note.

Elizabeth M Thompson said...

Thanks for a wonderful post! Sometimes the "little things" distract us from the big things, especially at Christmas. Faith,family,and friends take a backseat to decorating, food, and gifts that will be exchanged next week anyway!

Drew Hill said...

So true, Elizabeth. This Christmas Suzanne and I are giving less attention to presents and focusing more on presence, being with those we love and experiencing the presence of Christ. We're trying to make room for those quiet, reflective moments of wonder - a real challenge with three teenagers!