09 December 2010

Thoughts on the Christmas Crazy

I've been thinking about the crazy that is Christmas, and I'm going to step out of my usual voice here to share some of my thoughts.

Christmas is always crazy and this year even more so, what with the moving cross-country two days later. We're not frenzied, just busy, and things will only pick up as we move closer.

It's not in the spirit of the season, some say, and I buy that. It's hard to contemplate the Christ-child when you're running hither and thither, like a jackalope in molting season.

Then again, I can't imagine the first Christmas was exactly a contemplative picnic. Think about it. What part of:
  • riding a donkey while pregnant
  • searching a full town for a place to stay
  • giving birth among the animals
  • all while trying to register your family in some #$^! census
sounds like a set of peaceful moments for you? Because I don't see anything there that looks like the restful time I always want for Christmas.

Now, there's something to letting go of a lot of the crazy that goes with this season, of walking away from some of the things that make it so nuts and making space for the peace and the quiet. But there's a reason why we do all of those things. It's different for different folks, and each person has to decide if they're going to parties/making cookies/decorating the house/buying gifts/singing in choir/etc. for good motives or bad.

For me, when I search my heart I find that I want both - I want to give gifts to people I love (and, heck, receive them, too), and celebrate with them at parties, and bake and cook up a storm, and decorate and see Christmas lights and wrap like a frenzied little wrapping-paper sprite, but I also want the peace and the quiet.

Clearly, I can't have everything I want.

Or maybe I can.

See, I think Mary had the right idea. Her life was crazy right around the time Jesus was born, but instead of trying to make it other than it was, she held on to the things she wanted and found her quiet later. She took them in, held them, and pondered them in her heart.

I'm not saying we should embrace the crazy without thought, that we should do things because we feel like we have to even if our hearts aren't in them, or that Christmas is everything it should be. What I am saying is that there's a way to make peace with the action. I think it's possible to be both Martha and Mary (the other one) this season.

What do you all think?

This doesn't fit very well with the usual tone of Imperfect Prose, but I'm linking anyway, because I love the community and the people there, and because it's the last one before January!