Sunday, December 6, 2009

Where is my Christmas spirit?

Since the question has begun, "Do you know there is a Santa Claus, Virginia?" followed by the inevitable laughter, I know we are well into the holiday season.

The tree is up. The stockings hung. But I have no desire to light it.

If you know me, I am usually high on holly by now. I am usually the first one to put up no less than seven trees and hang my house in spangles and sparkles and look out into the night with a glitter in my eye and a wondering glow that has some resemblance to that of a child. I usually have shopped until my bills are screaming to be paid and am driving everyone nuts with my Christmas cheer.

This year... I feel...

I feel no desire to look at the tree lights glittering. I had no desire to get my trees out of storage, instead borrowing one. I have done that which the kids have asked for Christmas, nothing more.
I have done nothing because I felt driven by the Christmas spirit to do it.

I love Christmas. The wonder of it. The magic of people going out and doing for each other what they do not do any other time of year. For the sake of baby Jesus's birth we remember this one time of year a feeling of brotherhood and helpfulness and charity.

This year I don't see it. I am disenchanted. The economy has tanked and everyone is just... so sad. No one is worrying about helping others this year. They are in a dead panic about how to provide for their kids. Their families.

Which sort of is what is bugging me and sucking all the joy out of my Christmas, I think. And my job. It is sort of a Christmas vacuum. My current employment is a great way to look at human nature at its more primal greedy core and say, hmm. Not terribly kind are you? We, as a public, have far more than any other tanking economy. Our poor kids have toys. They do. Maybe not the newest toys coming onto the shelves but they do not play with dolls made from cornhusks or rocks because they have NOTHING for the most part. They have Barbie. She may be a bedraggled Barbie and (gasp!) be wearing last seasons fashions but she is still in all her plastic glory.

My babies have clothes on their backs. Food in their bellies. Toys in their toyboxes and more in storage. They want more. They want new.

They don't have nothing though.

The constant desire for newer, bigger, better, faster is not what Christmas was supposed to be about and my inner Charlie Brown is screaming and tearing out his three little hairs in frustration.

I want my kids to want to help. I want them to see how lucky we are. We have each other. I would rather have hung a paper tree that we had gotten together to make than light that borrowed tree. It would have meant something because we did it together.

What do we do together as a family during the holidays now? Shop? Cook food? What happened to singing? Raising our voices to the sky in joy and reverence. What happened to talking because we love each other and want to hear what we have to say?

Where is my Christmas?

Where is the joy?

I see want. I see need. I see hurt and anger. Where is the JOY?

I cringe and burrow down into my non-holiday affiliated sweater and look out into the night that is dotted with stars. Faith, a long time ago, led people to follow a star. I look at those stars and wonder what we follow now? What are my children learning in this world? Love? Joy?

Or need and want and a constant drive for instant gratification that can never be filled because nothing is ever good ENOUGH. Something will always be better. Faster. Newer.

I want to cry. My joy has been eaten this year. I hope it comes before Santa does.

If, yes, Virginia, there is a Santa... I hope he brings us Joy.

1 comment:

  1. Carol Weisman wrote a fabulous book called 'Raising Charitable Children' and it gives ideas on how to instill the idea of giving - big, small, actions, money, etc. - throughout all of their life and not just Christmas. Google the book - I'd send you mine but my kiddo's not quite 3 so I haven't started putting too much into action just yet!