“I started to get into it but I’m Christian now.  I can’t love Christmas anymore.”

I’ve encountered numerous people who feel this way.  In their minds, there are two Christmases.  One is joyous and vibrant and bright.  It is also commercial — thus the condemnation.  My husband and I call this version Stuff-mas.

The other Christmas, the Christian one, is solemn and serious and oh so pious.  Nothing glitters and beware all things joyful.  We don’t have a clever name for this one.  We just let them huddle together and moan.

We’re Christian but we don’t buy into this version either.  Our Christmas has church and music and God at its center.  But there are also candles and a tree and things that glitter.  And it is the one time of year that I shop.

What then do I say to my friends who, like Lorri, have a true reason to feel gloomy?  I second Lorri’s own words.

“. . . to everyone mourning a loss this Christmas I say: You are not alone. We grieve together, but we also rejoice together.”

If you are in a place of mourning, than mourn unapologetically.

If song fills your heart, throw back your head and sing.

If you love to shop and give people gifts, get to it.

If you love to bake or craft various items, may your hands be busy and glad.

You may not be in the midst of a Norman Rockwell Christmas or a Hallmark moment.  That’s okay.

You could very well be knee-deep in a Bethlehem Christmas.  For Mary and Joseph, this wasn’t business as usual.  They were on the road because of a government mandate to go be counted in the census.  Mary was about to have their first child — government bureaucracy meet life changing moment.

Then there were the people who were busy doing their jobs.  The inn keeper had record numbers of travelers to take care of. The shepherds were tending sheep.

Yet, they were all called together to share this one glorious moment.  Engraved invitations didn’t come weeks ahead of time.  Christmas came and found them all where they happened to be at just that moment — amidst the fuss and mess that is life.

It still works much the same way.  Sure, now we know what day it is going to be, but Christmas still has a tendency to catch us in the middle of life.  Some of us will be singing.  Some of us mourning.  Some of us baking.  But that’s okay.  Christmas will come.

–SueBE