Today I welcome one of my fellow Association of Christian Writers friends to the blog, Keren Dibbens-Wyatt. Here Keren is sharing her thoughts on her changing ‘relationship’ with the Christmas season. Leaving us with lots to think about…
Falling out with Christmas
Christmas and I don’t really get along any more. We had a bit of a falling out somewhere along the way. It was okay when I was little, and someone else made it all happen, and it was quite fun when I was well and still young enough to enjoy parties. But since I became chronically ill, and chronically spiritual, the whole razzle dazzle thing has lost its charm.
Now I feel like we are childhood friends who have outgrown one another. Christmas seems like a time when we are all supposed to fix a grin on our faces, trawl round the shops looking for the perfect presents (which lo and behold are the very things which are the latest or most expensive), pretend we like everyone in our family, wear ourselves out writing cards and bankrupt ourselves buying the stamps to post them with and then pig out on way too much food. The one imperative thing is that we must, absolutely must, enjoy it, or pretend that we are.
But of course, as Christians, we know that’s not what the festival is really about. And yet, we all seem to buy into that whole perfect commercial fuzzy-feeling happy wonderful magic buzz. And when that’s not there, disappointment lies in wait. The whole thing feels like a hiding to nothing. And I wonder how, as someone who this year will see no-one but my husband, because family have all moved away and I’m too ill to socialise anyway, that whole “you must have fun” yuletide directive still finds its way into my head.
I think it is because I really do want to enjoy it. I really would like to recapture some of that childhood excitement and magic. I do want the candle halo to make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. But for me, now, feasting means something very different than it used to. It’s not about food or drink. It is about becoming so engrossed in the miracle of “God with us” that I feel like I’m bursting with joy inside. It is about the wonder of the person of Christ, the Logos Word of God choosing to become an embryo, to grow within a woman, to be born into this divinely messy world. It is that willingness to set his power aside and make himself utterly vulnerable, that blows me away at Christmas. It is a beginning that inevitably leads to the cross, which makes it all the more amazing.
The whole thing is incomprehensibly loving and vast. And so, for me, and for all those who share this faith, the celebration is one I carry in my heart every day of the year. It doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the feasting, it just means that we hold it precious in a way that makes the presents and the mince pies simply symbols of love and joy, and not the centre piece of the day. Maybe if I can remember this, some of that worldly pressure might fall away, and Christmas and I might learn to like one another again.
Keren Dibbens-Wyatt is a disabled writer and artist with a passion for poetry, mysticism, story and colour. Her writing features regularly on spiritual blogs and in literary journals. Her full-length publications include Garden of God’s Heart and Whale Song: Choosing Life with Jonah. She lives in South East England and is mainly housebound by her illness.
Photo credit: Pixabay