Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Ghost of Christmas Past

“What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace.”
-Agnes M. Pharo
Flipping back through my biography, Christmas has every right to be a sad, depressing, disgusting, bah-humbug time of year. Twice, in my teenage years, Christmas time became a time of loss, instead of joy and hope like it’s touted to be.

In 1997 when I was 13 years old and in 8th grade, my father ended his battle with bipolar disorder just days before Christmas. Instead of baking cookies and attending Christmas parties, that season was filled with braving funerals and wiping away tears. Needless to say, the Christmas celebrations were low-key—I missed the annual youth group Christmas party, we distracted ourselves at my grandparents’ house with my cousin T.R. instead of attending the Christmas Eve service, and Christmas morning was a quiet affair. That year it felt we were just going through the motions. But, looking back, I take great pride in the fact that we even attempted that much.

A few years later, in my senior year of high school, we celebrated Christmas morning as usual, but our annual Christmas dinner was cancelled because Momo was ill. She had fought several recurrences of ovarian cancer, but this time the disease was too strong. We were never able to reschedule that dinner because Momo was in the hospital and hospice care until she died in April 2002. The historically joyous occasion became the beginning of her end.

Currently, my Monday night Bible study group is discussing the Advent lectionary in the context of four words: Anticipation, Hope, Patience, and Obedience. As we discuss our memories of Advent and the Christmas season, I’m in awe about how I look forward to Christmas with just as much excitement as everyone else. These tragedies don’t cloud my view of the holiday much at all. Christmas is so much more than all of that.

There are enough wonderful memories from years before and years after that those sad memories don’t poison my Christmas season. They become jumbled up with all of the merry ones, making Christmastime that much more special to me. The Christmas spirit—the goodness, the love, the wishes, the peace, the promise—that’s what it’s all about.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not going to be able to explain this well in a blog-comment, but the sermon at Crossroads on Sunday touched on exactly this point. Check out U2's song "Stuck in a Moment" & the story behind it. That was the theme.


You might also enjoy...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...