Monday, December 15, 2008

Skipping Christmas

It doesn't feel like December. There are still boxes from our September move in the living room. Our special Advent/Christmas book by Dr. Grant remains untouched this year. I've not had energy for baking, let alone cleaning or decorating. The temps just turned cold, but there is no snow. We flubbed Thanksgiving this year, so it doesn't even feel like we've had November. People around us have up lights and trees, and it always seems to make me wonder what they are doing putting up decorations so early. But then it dawns on me how close Christmas really is. I even bought us tickets to see Ravi Zacharias' Christmas program in the hopes it would put me in the mood. His talk was awesome and deep, but the music part of it just seemed too entertaining and lacking in the sacred Advent preparation I was expecting. The main girl singing made me feel like I was in a lounge, and not trying to prepare my heart for remembering the birth of Jesus.

This past week, I've actually wanted to skip the whole Christmas thing. Decorating seems like too much work, and I don't have an income this year to get my husband anything really special and he won't give me any ideas on what he wants anyway. I'm supposed to listen all year, take notes, and then be brilliantly thoughtful in December. This year, it seems I failed in the listening department, on levels beyond gift giving.

It's the third year in a row that I've only been able to make my family jam as a gift, instead of lavishing them like I used to do and they all still do for us. And I wonder if they think my love is less or that I'm selfish, even though my brain knows this holiday isn't about gifts.

I think I'm just in this extended pity party at the moment, wanting to stay there when I know there are a zillion things for which I should be grateful. I won't go into all the reasons. So I was kind of hoping we could just pretend to be ostriches, stick our heads under the dirt, and wait for next year's December. It seemed easy enough. Even our church is studying Genesis and not taking a break even though it's December, so it's not like we're surrounded with Advent preparations.

But no one around me seems willing to cooperate. When I told my mom that it's just getting too hard to call and talk to everyone who gets to be together at the holidays, she said they would call me this year. It's just that everyone is so busy connecting with each other at my grandma's, and sometimes I feel awkward trying to carry on a conversation from 2,500 miles away. (Thanksgiving is always harder though, because I'm at home alone with a husband out working and in a country where their somewhat similar holiday already passed over a month before, while everyone in the States is actually celebrating.) And something tells me that if I don't keep up the hollering "Christmas Gift!" tradition that my other grandma left behind when she went to live with Jesus eight long years ago, that my brother will make sure it's not forgotten.

When I told my husband that we could just skip the whole tree thing this year since he won't let me tromp in the woods at this late date (and we never finished researching the whole permit issue someone told us BC had) and I knew money for a farmed tree was the last thing we had, he wouldn't hear of it. So we found ourselves counting out change, braving bitter cold (no snow though), high winds (60-80 kph), and asking for the Charlie Brown section. Now I have a tree that is pretty attractive in its own way, though upon contact makes one wonder if it's related to a cactus, sitting in our living room.

So it doesn't look like we're skipping Christmas. It may be a quiet one with just the two of us, and there may be nowhere to go and no traditional baking in site, and the turkey I planned may still sit in the freezer since my husband decided on lamb instead. But we'll have Christmas. And I guess that's a good thing. Hopefully the feelings will show up by the 25th of this year. Because it reminds me that God didn't forget Christmas all those years ago, and His story says He hasn't forgotten us now.

I love Christmas. All holidays are holy and special days in my book, and I love to celebrate and highlight them. I don't know exactly why or how all this happened, but I look forward to having a "do over" next year, with the chance to treasure the time and make the most of each special day.....even if I don't feel like it at the time. Yes, a do over sounds marvelous.


Sarah said...

Gosh, Inkling. You sound sad tonight.I hope by the time you read this you are feeling a little better.I want you to know that if anyone gave me home-made jam for Christmas I would be thrilled... much better than a bought present. And every time I dipped into it through the year I would think of you and smile.As Christmas draws near I am sure that you will feel your spirit lift. Take care of yourself. Sarah x

FarmWife said...

I have been thrilled by your homemade jams each year. They brighten my day & remind me of you everytime I open my fridge! Never feel guilty about that. I know what a sacrifice it is to put in all that hard work & then lug them all the way down here every year.

While my family won't be as far away as yours is, I still won't be with them this Christmas. They are all staying in the land of the Queen Mother. It's hard to call & hear the festivities going on down there & know I can't hop in the car & make the trip.

Last year we missed out on everything due to strep being passed around our house. After cooking a big dinner & laying it out for Husband & the FarmHands, I went in my room & cried. I can sympathize with you to an extent.

Aimee said...

It hasn't felt like Christmas here, but is turning around. I hope it starts feeling like Christmas for you, too.

My grandfather used to make homemade jam. I held on to a jar he made me for a long time because I didn't want to eat it up and then have none. I still hold on to the things he made for us. Those are the most precious gifts.

Queen Mother said...

This reminds me of a Christmas Pa and I had. We had gone back to LCC and both had to work C.eve. Our tree lost all the needles and we took it down before Christmas for fear of fire.
G&G M&M couldn't stand the thought of us being alone so they surprised us that evening.
There was such a peace around us that day, that even now when I think back I can almost feel that peace again.
I hope that you will have that same peace this year.

Lori J said...

I just found your blog and love it!
How exciting that you love our country:)
I grew up in Vancouver, but now live all the way out in Hamilton Ontario.

This post was particularly from the heart. Jam is an excellent gift! I believe that people would rather know that you are not going into debt to give gifts for them....I make jam/jelly too:)

I hope you are feeling the Spirit of the Season by now.
Lori Jolliffe

RainyPM said...

I just found your blog too. I haven't read far enough back to hear when you're due, but I wish you the best with your new adventure!

Jam is a great gift. I'd rather have homemade jam than just about anything, (except jam AND a loaf of fresh bread). It's such a thoughtful gift, it makes me feel important that someone thought enough of me to make something for me... Merry Christmas!