Welcome to my little ol' blog. I'll be upfront about it: I don't blog very often any more. If you found your way here because you read my book "Trailer Life," have a gander! But it's easier to keep up with me on Instagram or on my Facebook page. I have this long, drawn out theory on why I'm a terrible blogger, but that is a story for another day. Enjoy the ramblings of my life from the last 8 years or so.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

What Christmas Means to Me

Sounds like the title of a fourth grade essay assignment, right?
I happen to love three Christmas movies in particular. I admit that I have never seen some of the classics such as “It’s a Wonderful Life.” This is where I also admit that I am rather juvenile in my preferences for movies in general. I demand some laughs and entertainment, just like a nine year old. My top three Christmas movies are as follows: How The Grinch Stole Christmas starring Jim Carrey, The Muppet Christmas Carol, and Elf.
I know, I know. A lot of people don’t think of Elf as a “real” Christmas movie. Jim Carrey? The Muppets? REALLY?
Yes, really.
You see, although I am quite child-like in my love of Christmas movies, I sometimes like to pretend to be philosophical and attempt to extrapolate meanings where there might not be some. This happened two years ago when I had to answer the question, “What does Christmas mean to you?”
Like a nine year old, I had no idea what to say. Presents? Finding the tape so I could wrap presents? Cookies? Trees? The birth of Christ? Santa? The hustle and bustle and rush and stress of now being a grown-up responsible for the season?
The question put me in a mood. Not only did it force me to realize all the “stuff” I was responsible for doing and that I was likely failing at, but I didn’t even like my answers. Since we had lived in the trailer for so long, we had a tradition of not doing a tree (no room, and that little one I bought was tossed out the door in a fit of rage where it broke, and I knew for certain I had just ruined the holiday for my little ones for the rest of their lives). I tried to place the emphasis on the religious events that are the reason for Christmas. We would read Luke, chapter 2. We talked about the new star in the East. All of that.
But apparently, the lessons weren't sinking in! Or, at least they didn't have meaning for me yet. I heard the words, but didn't understand the significance. I was still caught up in the trappings of the holiday, even while keeping things minimal. Those who know me know that a little stress makes me super productive. Too much stress turns me into a Grinch. Or, a Scrooge. Or even, a Walter! Which one was worse? It doesn’t matter, because I was all of them. “Christmas is a stretched budget. It’s spending money on memories! It’s untangling lights!” I might as well have added an audible “Bah, Humbug!”
The question, “What does Christmas mean to you?” needed to be answered. Not for the person asking it, but for myself. I reflected on my favorite Christmas movies, and it hit me. What do they all have in common? The Grinch? He started with a too small heart and loathing for the holiday, but his heart grew and he changed. Scrooge? He was a bitter old soul who was shown his past, the present, and a potential future, and he changed. Walter, who is Buddy the Elf’s dad, was a hard working cheat who couldn’t relate to his family, and he changed.
Christmas is about hope and change.
Santa Claus is a brilliant figure and I love how he symbolizes thoughtfulness and generosity. Santa encourages good behavior because he checks his list, and acting good is a positive thing. But acting good and being good are two different things. We all have our faults, and we all have things in our lives we wish were different. These things are as vast and varied as the stars in the sky.
Those familiar with the New Testament in the Bible and Luke 2 know from whence this change comes. Luke 2 gives the account of the birth of Jesus Christ. Followers of Christ know this to be the earthly beginning of his ministry, and the New Testament is full of His works while on the Earth. He is the best example of what we should act like, of HOW we should be. We fall short because we are human, but true followers will strive to be like Him every day. Christians know that He died on the cross and atoned for all mankind’s sins, and his suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane covers not only our sins, but our grievances, our hurts and our sorrows. “BUT THAT’S EASTER!” my brain says. “WHAT ABOUT THE BIRTH?”
A birth is a new beginning. A baby is innocent. A new life brings hope for the future. I’m sure we’ve all looked at a precious newborn and thought, “I wonder what this baby will grow up to be like?” It’s those feelings of hope for the future that I try to remember when Christmas comes. I can have hope that I can change. If I mess up, I can repent and change my actions and thoughts. If there is something about myself that I do not like, that is not moving me in the direction I want to go, there is HOPE that I can CHANGE and become a better person. This hope for change came with the birth of Christ. This is the best reason to celebrate the holiday!
Like Walter, The Grinch, and Scrooge, it is a hope in the future and the potential for change of the present that makes Christmas so special. I couldn’t put my finger on it for so long: that “feeling” of Christmas. Even those who are not familiar with Christ know that the season brings feelings of something else, something more than Santa and presents. Those feelings are hope and change.
Hope and change came with the birth of a baby in Bethlehem thousands of years ago. Hope and change can still be felt today.
Merry Christmas to you all!

No comments:

Post a Comment