If you read my Thanksgiving post, you might have gotten the idea that I am a Grinch. Well, I am.
Before we go any further, I hate the lights, the mass euphoria, the presents, and most importantly the assumption and expectation of happiness. “It’s Christmas, you will get presents, everything looks pretty and everything is lit up; therefore you must be happy”. This is stressful, at least for me.
On the other hand, I love the spirituality of the celebration of the birth of Jesus, of the Winter solstice, and most of all, I love Advent.
Madrid, like most cities during Christmastime is chaos. Everybody is out; apparently enjoying the pretty lights, and walking around, and stopping for a coffee, and buying presents, and getting drunk, and singing and getting drunk and singing. Jesus, your emotional wellbeing, your financial wellbeing, silence, reflection, and meditation are nowhere to be seen.
This year I found a great little book: Preparing for Christmas, Daily meditations for Advent, by my guru, Richard Rohr. In it he reflects on the daily reading, and then à propos of the reading writes a meditation for the reader. Some of them are:
What expectations and demand of life can you let go of so that you can be more prepared for the coming of Jesus.
What attachments in your life can you let go of to make more room for God?
Or, last one:
What perceptions of Jesus and Christ do you have that need to be changed?
This is excellent food for thought and meditation and this is part of the journey of Advent. You see, the presents and the lights no not make you a better person, you are lucky if you feel grateful for getting another sweater, another tie. What is enriching is the journey to Christmas, the spiritual preparation, the reflection, and the meditation.
So, it is not that I hate Christmas, I just hate the commercial, superficial Christmas.