Posted by: smstrouse | December 30, 2010

Hi, I’m _____, and I’m Recovering from Christmas

OK, it’s over. I made it through another one. It’s amazing how I can think I’m so thoroughly spiritually prepared that it won’t get to me. But it does. Advent was wonderful. Christmas Eve was great. Christmas Day wasn’t even so bad; it was a work day, after all, getting ready for church the next day. But then it hit – the Christmas blues. Sheesh! I wasn’t frazzled by too much shopping or hung over from too much partying. I can’t even use the poor, tired pastor excuse; I don’t have a heavy church load like some do – just one service on Christmas Eve.  So what’s the problem?

The problem – or just the reality – seems to be that no matter how much one tries to get beyond the memories of childhood and the expectations of adulthood, those memories and expectations will surface now and again. And Christmastime is the perfect storm of cultural, religious, family, and economic presumptions.  Plus it involves the whole self: our physical selves are tempted by cookies and egg nog, while the Jennie Craig ads are lying in wait for our guilty New Year resolutions; our emotional selves are pulled by heart-wrenching stories in all the charity solicitations, as we rush off to buy another present; and our spiritual selves are in need of absolution because we never did finish that Advent devotion book. 

So again, I say “Sheesh!” and declare that I am in recovery from Christmas. I admit that I am powerless over the feelings that arise despite my best efforts. And I turn my life over, yet again, to that Higher Power that is greater than my Christmas blues. Sounds so obvious, doesn’t it? But it took me till the 5th Day of Christmas to get it – again.

So now we’re through the 6th Day – halfway there. And I am looking forward to Epiphany. I have always been enchanted by the Magi, much more so than the shepherds and angels and the little drummer boy and the kneeling Santa.  And Epiphany is a whole season, not just 12 days!  At First United we use blue paraments for the whole season of Epiphany, instead of the green of Ordinary Time. Seems to me that Epiphany is a rather extra-ordinary time and it takes a whole season to explore the mystery of the Word made flesh.

Until then, I’m taking good care of myself, not being too self-critical for being so ‘Bah, humbug!’  I even took time out from the office today to go and play Scrabble with a friend. Even though I suffered a humiliating defeat, it was a lovely way to break up the work day. I’m also writing my annual Epiphany letter and digging out the cards I bought last year with the pictures of the Magi following their star. My mother used to always say that I sent my Christmas cards out late. And I would always remind her that they were not late; they were right on time – for Epiphany!

So that’s how I’m working my recovery. But I know that I am not the only one who’s got the post-Christmas let-down, the blues, the blahs – whatever you want to call it. So I say to you, it’s OK. You’re not alone.  We can all recover together.

Until next year, when we’ll do it all again.  Sheesh!

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