Christmas is going to be different this year. For the first time in years, I want it to be the sort of Christmas that is truly celebrated as a time of Peace, Joy and Love.
Instead, for the past few years the holiday has felt like nothing more than a deadline to me. That's not how I want to celebrate.
I feel like I'm missing the true meaning of Christmas which is the celebration of the birth our Savior.
Sometimes I envy those with children, because passing on the traditions, the stories and the experiences must help to keep the wonder alive.
Without children, this is what my Christmas looks like...
I just run around for weeks buying gifts for family that I rarely see, (most likely buying them things they don't really want) pile everything into the car, drive for 10-12 hours through midwest winter roads, open gifts and drive back. It's a crazy rush, and it's always a let-down.
Today http://girlfromflorida.blogspot.com/ addressed the issue too:
"We are trying to figure out our holiday plans. My in-laws keep dropping hints, but to be honest, we just don't have the money to fly up there. It just really pisses me off that everyone expects US to travel to THEM. "
Since I'm the only one in a different state... I'm the one expected to save my ONE WEEK OF VACATION (or one of the two weeks I get now) for the entire year - to drive across a state or two so I can be home with the people who are self-employed (and therefore don't have to give up vacation time) I have never EVER celebrated Christmas at my own home. Or at my own church. No member of my family has ever come to see ME for Christmas!
So this year, I'm not going home for Christmas. I'm not doing it to be stubborn, or to prove a point. No, really.
Just once, I want to celebrate Christmas where I live... instead of rushing to be somewhere else.
I've invited the family to come out here - but that is somehow ridiculous. They won't even consider it.
Last year, when I took my tree and decorations down on the Feast of the Epiphany - it seemed so strange that I even bothered. (see - Shelving the Future - post below) No one even saw my tree - but me. And that's when it hit me. Christmas is supposed to be shared. But I don't have a child, or a husband. Am I supposed to put off truly celebrating the miracle of Christmas until I do have a family?
I don't think so.
I just want to sit in the dark and stare at my Christmas tree lights in silence. I want to go to Midnight Mass. (The family back home goes to the 5:30pm Children's Mass - listening to same horrible, bastardized 'holiday' songs they've been butchering since I was in the youth choir. Ugh and Shudder!)
I want to pour a glass of wine and stare out the window at the new fallen snow, search the sky for the brightest star and feel the Lord surround me with his love. The Son of God made flesh to dwell with us here on earth.
I want to really contemplete the meaning of Christmas - instead of dwelling in the ruckus of my brother's kid's and their friends tearing open presents in a greedy rush.
So this year, I'm embracing my excuse - Mr. Burns and I are flying out to San Fran for my dear friend's wedding on Dec 17th. He's using the last bit of his vacation days to go with me. His family gets together for Thanksgiving, and he stays here for Christmas anyway.
Last year, I prayed for someone with whom to share the joy of Christmas... and I feel that God has answered that prayer.
So when I broke the news to Mom - I explained that we'd just be getting back from a trip when I would be jumping in the car to drive to Nebraska and instead of rushing like that, I would just stay in Denver for Christmas. I also leaned on the expense of two trips - excuse.
I expected a cryfest - but she surprised me by saying, "Yes. You should stay and have Christmas with Mr. Burns."
Yeah... she's just thrilled that I finally have a boyfriend!!
I was surprised and thrilled that we didn't have to have a drag-out fight about it.
A few weeks later I was talking with my 17-year old niece. She asked if I would be home for Thanksgiving. I asked if Grandma told her about Christmas. No. What?
Well, Mom and Dad understand but my niece is mad at me. I'm messing with her 'tradition'. She has no idea how much our tradition has changed. Her dad (my brother) is responsible for most of the changes that ruined my tradition.
My new tradition... takes a line or two from the the song Colorado Christmas by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
"The closest thing to heaven on this planet anywhere
Is a quiet christmas morning in the Colorado snow"
This year, I want to experience that for myself.