A Silent Night


Why don’t we enjoy it more often?

I’m sitting here in a cluttered room, wrapping paper, presents and the general wreckage from a busy weekend scattered all across the floor and shelves. There’s lights strung up; Christmas decorations dotting the interior of the house.

The holidays have come and gone, and can’t help but think: “that’s it?”

My disappointment doesn’t come from a selfish origin. Not really. I just genuinely don’t understand.

For the best time of the year, it sure ranked way up there as one of the worst.

Peace on earth?

I could use some of that.

Why do we put so much stress into our lives just to live up to tradition and expectations?

Now, I understand.

Everyone wants a perfect Christmas.

Everyone wants that year where for just once, everything goes perfectly. We give the perfect gifts without spending a fortune, we get just what we wanted, we host all the relatives without age-old arguments popping up, Christmas dinner is flawless, all the holiday traditions are observed, the kids say “thank you”, the house magically stays clean and just at the right time, snow softly falls.

Every year, we plan months in advance so that maybe, just maybe, this year will be the year.

The year where we finally get our perfect Christmas.

But if our favorite holiday movies have taught us anything, it’s that the perfect Christmas simply does not exist. Something will always inevitably happen to shatter our dreams, adding this year’s Christmas card to the drawer of second rates with a shrug and a “maybe next year”.

So why do we try so hard? Why do we willing put so much pressure on ourselves to achieve the impossible?

Because I know for a fact, I’m not the only one left feeling like I missed something in the morning-after-Christmas hangover.

So what, in the chaos and bustle of the month of December – where elbows are thrown in the shopping malls, budgets are exceeded, smiles are faked and church attendance is required once a year – have we missed?

At what point did the very meaning of Christmas get lost into something so shallow?

Christmas is about being thankful for what you do have – not writing a list of the things you don’t.

Christmas is about taking the time to stop, relax and reflect – not get so caught up in holiday insanity you don’t know whether to tear your own hair out, or the person in front of the line who just pulled out that roll of coupons.

Christmas is about giving to bless others – not just check their name off a list.

Christmas is about enjoying family – not coming up with excuses to avoid the in-laws.

Christmas is about embracing how messed up we are and exactly why we need a savior – not photoshopping our Christmas cards to display a perfect family, in a perfect house, with perfect lives.

Christmas is about Christ and celebrating His birth as our savior in the selfless, loving manner He desires – not saying “Happy Holidays” to be politically correct.

Christmas is Christmas – with all the beauty and magic behind that word we cherished as a child.

I think it’s time we stop trying to achieve the impossible standards we punish ourselves with. I think it’s time we stop getting so caught up in making Christmas happen, that we lose sight of what it’s really about. Of why we celebrate, why we give, why there should be peace instead of chaos.

It’s a silent night.

A holy night.

For once, let’s just enjoy it.

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