In the twinkling of an eye, Christmas is here again!
Another year to celebrate Christ’s birth, but also another year of confusion and conflicting feelings for me. And perhaps, in this Covid/Climate/Campaign year, for many of us too.
But for me, none of those events brought on these unsettled emotions for this annual epic season of celebration. You see, I had for some years now already been on a conflicted Christmas journey!
Let me explain.
What Christmas meant then
For the longest time, I regarded Christmas as my favourite season of all. When I was about seven or eight years old back in the 70s, the way I celebrated Christmas was to stay home and watch the Osmond’s Christmas special on the telly.
Those feel-good family-friendly specials by the musical Osmond clan formed my first impression of this seemingly-magical season. So Christmas meant snow, snowflakes, snowmen, snow-capped mountains and bright decorations on cone-shaped trees.
In short, the quintessential “White Christmas” for a tropical boy.
Thanks to those singing Osmond siblings Donny and Marie, I also got acquainted with all the popular holiday tunes, which was how I got to know about Frosty, Rudolph and of course the symbol of Christmas, ‘Mr Chimney’ himself, Santa Claus (and his bottomless bag of toys).
Or so I thought.
What Christmas meant later
As I got older I came to learn about the other Christmas story – baby Jesus, God in human form come down to be the salvation of mankind.
I got to learn about carols, choral crooning churches, and celebrations of Christ and His undying love for every human being. Not to mention the ultimate expression of His sacrifice that we observe every Good Friday and Easter.
And when I eventually accepted Him as my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ (not Santa Claus) embodied what the true meaning of Christmas was. For someone who would choose to give up His rightful place on the thrones of heaven to descend and be a mortal, in order to rescue little old me?
Wow! A story to end all stories, I thought. A special touch from on high. The true meaning of Christmas that I believed ought to be for everyone.
Or so I hoped.
What Christmas has become
But as the years turned to decades, I felt like I was coming back full circle again – to the days when Christmas was just another Western import, having little in the way of lasting meaning this side of the hemisphere.
I know that sounds odd for someone who’s experienced the goodness of this season for many years, with its themes of giving and receiving, fellowship and feasting. And Christ, who loved and saved me more times than I can count.
But right this moment, there’s just no other way I can express what I’m going through. The special touch that was once what this time of the year meant for me? Well, it’s just not there anymore.
It’s just not a season I look forward to anymore, sad to say. In fact, I actually dread it! All the gifts, gatherings and good food.
Robs the soul almost.
So now I’m just plain conflicted about this season. I’ve even resorted to watching Hallmark-style holiday romance films to try to recapture what it once meant for me. Not that I’m drawn to the lovey-dovey stuff in these chick-flicks mind you (oh alright, maybe a little).
But rather to savour once more the snow, the snowman, and the snow-capped mountains. And yes, even Santa!
It almost feels like I’m walking to the edge of a midnight jetty, staring up at the lonely moon hanging above me, and wondering: It’s this all that Christmas is?
In my head, I know of course that it is not. It’s my conflicted heart though that seems to need some convincing! It’s missing the reason, and I’m overdue for a search and rescue!
Perhaps my next blog entry for this season will take me on a much-needed inner journey towards an answer. Or maybe I may have to wait another year!
Either way, Christmas is for now a conflicted time for me.
How about you? Has Christmas lost its ‘special touch’ for you too?