“Are you ready for Christmas?”
What the hell does that mean?
What a season. Sure, we sing Christmas tunes. And things sparkle. For the religious, there’s the whole Jesus thing, which is probably satisfying.
But. Over twenty years in a health care practice, I saw this as a season of huge stress.
The Joy bar, if you can imagine one, is raised. You’re supposed to feel jolly, bursting with good will, eager to be with your loved ones (even the drunken aunts and the bigoted, pedophiliac, shoplifting, arsonist, B&E in-laws), and, most of all, willing to shop for all of the above. There’s nothing like an elevated expectation of joy to make you feel less joyous, to make you feel like a Scrooge-y underachiever in the realm of happiness.
Families get together, which is wonderful and not. Combined families do the absurd and hugely complicated Cirque du Soleil thing in order to be at all twelve turkey dinners around the country, stuffed to the resentful, guilty wishbone by the end of it all.
People spend themselves into debt that amounts to carrying a fat, loaded sleigh for the rest of the winter.
I drive by the mall, stare at four bizillion cars in the parking lot, and head to the library instead. I’ve done this twice in the last week. I’ll be well read, if not “ready” at all, by Christmas.
So what does it mean to be “ready” for Christmas?
Here’s my checklist:
1. Am I listening to my own values? (Do I even know what my values are?)
2. Am I doing what makes me happiest or am I just doing my best not to offend my mother, my father, my lover, my husband (same thing in some cases, but not for everybody this Christmas – talk about Cirque du Soleil stress), my kids, my in-laws, the guy who delivers the mail, every starving kid in Africa who will die because i just wasted $20 on a hat that no one will wear, the clerk who has asked me 600 times to donate an extra dollar to a cause I have no interest in?
3. Am I allowing my kids and lovely man to make their own decisions about what makes them happy (or am I pressuring the hell out of them to do what I want)?
4. Am I finding time every day to remember who I am? To breathe and be sane? To remember that Love is the Point?
Ahhhhh, that’s it.
The moment I remember that Love is the Point, I’m ready.
Are you ready? What’s the point for you? And is it easy for you to remember your own point this season? I’d love to hear.
Thanks for the conversation,