No, this isn’t a plea for presents or treasures or vacations in warm places. Truth be told, I don’t need anything wrapped in shiny paper this Christmas. I am blessed. I have all the material things that I need. And I even have a few extra dollars that I have already donated to charity. I’m healthy, my husband is healthy, our children and grandchildren are healthy. Indeed, that’s a mighty fine Christmas! What more could I possibly ask for?
There’s just one thing. I’m looking for a Christmas miracle that cannot be wrapped in a box with a bow. It can’t be bought in a store or ordered online. I don’t even know if it can be manufactured by humans, although Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel and Charles Schultz came very close a couple of times. I remember watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas” every year when I was a child. We didn’t have DVR or TiVo back then, so we had to make sure we were sitting in front of the TV on the one night the show was on. And because every kid in town watched that show, the next day at school everyone was a little more kind, a little more caring. It was an infusion of the Christmas spirit.
In my lifetime, I have experienced more than once the true spirit of Christmas. And a couple of times, I’ve been fortunate enough (and blessed) to be on the giving side of a Christmas miracle. It’s a wonderful feeling to help someone who wants to believe. I am a believer, which is what makes this year’s Christmas story so dreary.
You see, instead of decorating and cooking and playing festive holiday music, we are battling über drama in our family. It’s drama in the most extreme sense. In fact, I never thought drama could get so ridiculous, so hurtful, so pointless. And it’s all about whether we will gather for Christmas, and where, and when.
As a believer, I cannot fathom even considering not gathering with family at Christmas. So the fact that two of my daughters are refusing to gather just doesn’t compute. In my mind, this all goes back to a still-unexplained meltdown that happened with Kate, my oldest daughter, in August. And now Emily, my daughter with entitlement issues, has formed an alliance with Kate and the two of them are refusing to spend Christmas with me. The other two sisters are just as confused as I am, and they’ve asked Kate and Emily several times to speak up about what this is really about. But Kate and Emily won’t answer. Instead they throw out hurtful and intentionally mean words, calling the others names for trying to defend me, and twist anything any of us say into absolute nonsense.
At first my husband told me to not take it personally, but even he can no longer deny that all this anger and hatred is directed at me personally. Over the last month I’ve tried a hundred ways to negotiate and compromise, even offered to go to them. That threw them off a bit, but they quickly recovered and suddenly were not available on any of the days that they knew I was. At this point I’ve thrown up my arms and said, “Fine! I’ll celebrate Christmas without you!”
And I will. But it won’t be the same. No matter how many people gather in our house for the holidays, there will be gaping holes. So I’m praying for the Spirit of Christmas to have pity on us and spread some magic snowflakes or put up a guiding star so that two lost sheep can find their way back to the flock, where they can be cared for and tended to and loved.