Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Disappointing Christmas

I apologize for what I am about to write.

Christmas is

Or at least it can be. I remember one of my good friends (Nate) asking for rollerblades for Christmas. He was 14 and his parents certainly had the means. As he rushed downstairs to see what was waiting beneath the glowing Christmas Tree he found...

a filing cabinet.

I don't think there is a man nor woman alive, who at one point didn't look up to a loving mother and say, "Oh ...socks. Thanks mom, yeah I really needed ...socks. yeah, I see there are different colors" And I have to wonder if that first Christmas was a little disappointing to Joseph. He was marrying a woman who was giving birth to a child that was not his. He couldn't even arrange for a clean room to spend the night and had to settle for a barn. On top of all that he had to deal with strange sheep hearders and foreigners visiting through the night. I have to wonder if he looked up and said "Oh...myrrh. Thanks, yeah I really needed ...mrryh. yeah, I see it comes with frankinsense too."

But somehow I don't think he was disappointed. He saw the birth of Christ, the foretold Messiah. His wife and child, the child that he would get to raise, were healthy. Angels rejoiced and people gathered from every economic strata to honor him. I think Joseph was open to play it by ear and take what came. He didn't know what Christmas would be and he took it as it came and was open to the new experience.

For me Christmas is a great time, but it is often disappointing. I don't think it was by accident that the glorious nativity is often surrounded by tales of disappointment. One of my favorite lyrics is this, "If it wasn't for disappointment, I wouldn't have any appointments." Thus is life.

I'll be honest, life has had it's share of disappointments lately (many of which are of my own making). I think of a lot of people who aren't where they thought they would be are looking forward to a disappointing Christmas. I think that can be temperred by being open, like Joseph must have been, to whatever Christmas we will be given.

But I think of Simeon and Anna in the Old Testament, who each waited faithfully year after disappointing year, visiting the temple regularly until they got a chance to see the child Messiah. They are not surrounded by fellow faithful or even family in their tales. Just lone people that had some hope.

As I go into this winter solstice, this time of year with the worlds longest night, I know that the sun will come again, as will the Son of God. And disappointments are for the moment, and fleeting. My friend Nate still uses his filing cabinet, and probably chuckles and thinks of his Dad. I have probably worn through the socks but I know that my Mom cares about how warm my feet are.

As I go into this Christmas, I am deciding not to be disappointed. I am not going to be attatched to what Christmas has been and look forward to what it will be, and to enjoy every minute.


Brian Watkins said...

I love this. Thanks Damian

Barbaloot said...

I liked this post, Damian. Thanks

Lee said...

This was so great. A monumentous moment in my church-going history.

Gatsby said...

Very well written. Awesome!

shoeless joel said...

Excellent. I really like this.

Molly Hickcox said...

Warm fuzzies. Thanks Damian :)

k8 said...

this is really good damian.