Christmas is my favorite holiday, despite my struggles with feeling that my birthday (the 21st) is overshadowed and my angst about Santa Claus. I think part of why I love Christmas is the decorations — I love lights and am bowled over again and again by the creativity of so many in their decorating. However, I know that the largest part of why I love Christmas is getting to give gifts. I love gift giving and finding the perfect gift is literally one of the biggest highs I can imagine.
But this Christmas is super weird.
Yes, the lights are still up and, yes, I spent a great deal of time this year finding gifts and wrapping them and organizing different gift exchanges; but, we can’t gather like we have in the past. Every time we get an invitation or we begin considering a gathering, there are so many questions to consider. Too many people are not being careful and aren’t wearing their masks regularly and that puts immunocompromised people like me at risk. I’m thankful that one vaccine has been approved, with others on the way, and that some will begin receiving it soon, but the safety it provides won’t be widely accessible for some time.
And so, we forge ahead. Making new memories this year has often been a bit of a struggle, but we are still doing our best. I’m, as I’m sure many of you are, sick of zoom and drive through experiences and celebrations. I’m, as I’m sure many of you are, ready for life to return to “normal.”
Isn’t the message of Christmas that everything is different once a world changing event occurs? Jesus was born so long ago in that manger in order to change the world and everyone in it. His birth and death represent a prophesied seismic shift in the world and life and eternity, so much so that even our calendar is divided into before Christ and after His death.
And so this Christmas, I am doing my best not to focus on what was or returning to some idealized version of life before a pandemic and all of the things that have been the hallmark of the past four (4) years of dishonesty and paranoia and abusiveness. I am doing my best to look ahead just as cancer as taught me to do. Focusing on what was or what we have lost or idealizing something that probably didn’t really existed outside of our minds and imagination isn’t helping me in the midst of this trauma, which seemingly has no end.
Our boys help us to remember that being fully in the moment, focusing on what is happening NOW, and reveling in the magic of Christmas and being with family (of course only the ones who are being careful) and exchanging small tokens of love and connection is really what matters.
My wish for you, dear readers, is that you will be able to enjoy the magic of Christmas, even amidst a pandemic and all of the struggles going on around us. Gift yourself moments of joy and togetherness and love. We all need a lot more of that!