Tuesday, December 05, 2006

It's Christmas Time in the Suburbs... Part I

Ah, the joy that is Christmas. The cold weather, the icy roads, the early darkness, the over spending, the obnoxious relatives (not mine by the way - really), the tacky light displays (oh, I can't wait to get ours up - the first time in YEARS), the unreasonable expectations for commitments of time and money. Oh the JOY! So, in this post let me cover some Christmas (or any major holiday) type relationship issues.

I have a friend of mine that I caused to go into a major crisis because I would not let them get a gift for me. Thankfully she finally understood that friendship has nothing to do with if I allow her to spend money. Doh! and Yea! Good for her. It was a process, but she actually got the picture in a healthy way.

Another thing that came up with my friend was the "single" thing. And that I understand. I was single for a long time before I got married. And I'm including the time that I was engaged to my previous finance. I'd rather be alone than spend a holiday with her family. Anyway. Being single at the holidays is perfectly OK. The problem is that somehow our spend crazy, post modern society that doesn't really understand the reason why the winter solstice festival was Christianized is not because of FAMILY - it's because the Christ Child was born to be our salvation. Doh! So, because the focus becomes family instead of the family of God - people feel that they are unfulfilled because they don't have a "family." I have one, would you like to rent it? Cheap?

No, it's not because my family is any more dysfunctional than any other family. And I'm not talking about the wife's family here - just mine. I have a policy that I don't talk about the inlaws, I haven't been known an abused by them long enough to really make comments yet. Scary, there are times that still take me seriously. Anyway, having a family is no guarantee of happiness. In fact, in many cases having a family is more a guarantee of having cousins that aren't talking to each other, different sides of the family feuding and people having too much eggnog. Yippie! Just what I always wanted on the holiday. And no, I didn't just become this jaded, I've been this way for a long time. Why? Because I remember all this stuff from when I was a kid too. True silliness. Honestly, I've always been more of a fan of spending the holidays with people I LIKE. I don't need to have a long tradition. I'm not a "tradition" kind of guy. I don't need to have the same folks around me for the next 40 years. I just want to have an enjoyable holiday. And what does that mean? It means that I get to spend any meaningful holiday - especially a "Christian" holiday with people that know Christ - and that I LIKE. Now, I will admit that it is a bit easier being that I'm married. I get to spend the days with my immediate family (wife and kids). Outside of that...I'm pretty flexible. When the kids are gone, out of the house and wherever, then I'll hang with the wife. If something happens and I somehow out live my wife, then I'll hang out with friends from church if that works for them - and if not, maybe I'll just have a nice day with the Lord. Or maybe I'll just watch some campy old movies that geezers like to watch from when they were young - like Star Wars (the original ones!).

So, my point. If you're single, don't lament it. Enjoy it. If you don't want to hang by yourself, then get with a friend and do something. If they've got something to do, then ask if you can tag along. If you've got family that you can stand - then hang with them. Whatever it is - don't stress out. The whole idea is to enjoy yourself. if you don't have friends, then go volunteer someplace that needs you - like shelters or soup kitchens that are feeding those that are less fortunate than we might be. If you are one of the less fortunate and you're reading this at a library - then go work at one of those kitchens and bless the other people around you. And through it all, give thanks that you are who you are, you have what you have. It may not be much - I know this year for us it certainly isn't, but I know that we are healthy and we still have someplace to live. I'm grateful for that. And who knows, as you get good at accepting who you are and where you are, you'll be surprised at what can happen.

OK. So this wasn't a funny post, but I hope it helps someone this season. Really it's true, go with what you've got and enjoy the moment.

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