Christmas Sucks

“But to those who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to those who believe in his name,
who were born not by natural generation
nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision
but of God.”

The Gospel according to John

I got half a mind to scream out loud, I got have half a mind to die-

David Gray

I’ve read the Christmas posts, seen the reindeer pajamas, laughed at myself, then cried. I have always struggled with Christmas, especially as a Jewish person finding her way as a Christian in the world of reds and greens, happy Santas and nativity sets. I have struggled to understand why Christmas lights make Christians so mad, or why they are so upset about Santa. I have never understood in all the years I’ve been a Christian why I don’t feel the Christmas joy at all…

I have struggled with my expectations of Christmas, as I am sure many of you have. Some of us have lost loved ones and traditions are just not the same without them. Or maybe you’re working. Or maybe like me you’re some sort of convert (aren’t we all though?) fumbling their way through the Christmas festivities.

I decorated, bought the gifts, lit advent candles, went to mass as per our usual routine. I tried to anticipate, to see what everyone else was “seeing.” I read the posts about cancelling Christmas for kids who are bad, the posts that talk about Christmas as a pagan holiday, or Christmas trees that are just from the devil. I have read about the uproar of plain red Starbucks cups and C&E Christians and from people who are not Christians at all. For all that I’ve read and all that I’ve seen, (including the perfect family Christmas pictures replete with elves and bells and matching pajamas) I have to say I am completely unimpressed. I’m not the grinch, I’m just a girl who’s looking for the real Christmas.

My kids, they have been fighting for days. Mass, it was filled with standing room only (no strike that, no room at all). I have no family that celebrates Christmas, not one. I sat alone with my husband last night, two Jews eating a Christmas ham and casserole, kids crying upstairs on Christmas Eve, sans Christmas music.

I cried because I tried to plan the perfect Christmas. I tried to decorate the only way a little Jewish girl knows how. I bought the gifts, not many, but ones I knew the kids would enjoy. I filled the house with candles, an advent wreath and sugar cookies in the refrigerator. I got them each those ridiculous looking Christmas pajamas, as I do every year, threw reindeer bells in the backyard. They still fought and hated each other. I was still sitting in my dress from mass, no shoes, tired eyes. 

I imagine many people feel the same way as me in some way, shape or fashion. It’s cliche to comeback and say Christmas is about Jesus so get rid of everything else and send your kids to go do a service project in Africa. My kids are little. I have three of them. I gave up all of my possessions, sold them all, and followed God’s leading to a small house away from where we were. Then I got rid of more extras.

I give money away when I feel prompted; the way I see it it’s just paper with a bunch of dead presidents. I visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament every Wednesday. I pray constantly, and then some more. I make my kids go to mass, AND listen (or at least try). I wear a veil because God called me to. My kids still fight and hate each other, and then love each other and then punch each other in the face. They still believe in Santa Claus. They still can’t quite understand why the rest of the world doesn’t believe in Jesus.

It took me awhile after crying, stuffing my face with the kosherest of hams, having a screamd-filled dinner, an overpacked mass, ungrateful kids (because that’s just kids), more screaming, sitting here while my kids are each in their rooms having their own little Christmas, that life doesn’t stop for our expectations. That Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. That although we celebrate his birth, I celebrate it everyday. That today is special yes, but not more special than the day he found me, then the moment I knew my husband found him, when He saved our marriage, or the moment I realized His calling me home to the Catholic church was the moment I had been waiting for but just didn’t know it. I thought of all those moments, and more, and realized for me I can’t glorify this day above all days, expecting that the day will be filled with perfect Jesus moments and kids who just can’t understand quite yet that the reason their family is together is because of that little baby.

He is an innocent baby, a youth, a rabbi, a  grown man, a mystery. And He exists everyday for me, just as important as the next. On the days I don’t have perfect expectations for myself or my kids, it seems to work out, I just have to let Him in.

So I’ve decided that today is like every other day. The kids will be fighting, ungrateful and well, just being kids. My husband and I will try for the millionth time to understand why every holiday sucks. We’ll threaten to take away presents and try to “cancel” Christmas. The kids will spend some time in their rooms. I’ll read the scripture of the day and pray and thank God that in all my chaos my family is together. And I’ll let my expectations float away with my grief over my unperfect day.

And I hope you will too…

You can read more about Mary at There’s Something about Mary

 

6 thoughts on “Christmas Sucks

  1. I recall Christmases just like this. Now I see my own children going through similar things. Sometimes all our plans for perfection turn sour, mainly I suppose because we aren’t perfect, but that innocent child in the manger is. He alone makes Christmas perfect. God bless you, and strengthen you through your journey. He’s in control!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes He is! It’s always good to know I am surrounded by so many people who understand and I am not alone. Yes, He is the only one who makes Christmas perfect. Love you!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I would like to make two comments.

    First, about Christmas, people get too caught up in the “traditions” and what is going on around them to remember what we are celebrating. The birth of a small baby who changed the world.

    For to you is born this day
    in the city of David a Savior,
    who is Christ the Lord.

    And this will be a sign for you:
    you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths
    and lying in a manger. ”

    And suddenly there was with the angel
    a multitude of the heavenly host
    praising God and saying,”

    Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace
    among men with whom he is pleased

    Second, and this may or may not be for you, but some Jews I have know who have come to Christ find it difficult dealing with “Christianity” as it is today (vastly different from the time of the Apostles). They find themselves more comfortable with the Messianic Jewish Assembly, you may want to check them out, if you are not familiar with them. I suggest this in a loving manner, please accept it as such.

    http://www.mjaa.org/site/PageServer?pagename=rd_aboutus_statement_of_faith

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I hear you! For some years I did find it difficult to fit in, and then the Lord completely and unexpectedly called me home to the Catholic church (long story one blog before). I knew nothing about Catholicism before arriving there, but my heart is filled and I know I am home.
      I agree people do get caught up in all of the traditions, and the focus shifts from the reason we are celebrating in the first place. I walk a fine line with my kids, not expecting too much at 6 6 and 5. But when we sat and talked today about Jesus and my children told me, “Mama we celebrate him everyday!” I knew that I had to be doing something right. For them, Christmas is no different, except for the decorations, since Jesus is in every corner and crevice of my home. Sometimes you question yourself and wonder if they hear you, but I know, I know they do.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me and may God bless you this Christmas!
      M

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sometimes I feel the old Orthodox tradition was best (no longer followed, even in the Eastern church). Gifts were given on St. Nicholas day, Christmas was spent as a religious day, much as Easter. Kept the two apart, making it easier to concentrate on the reason we celebrate Christmas.

        Liked by 1 person

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