I took down the Christmas decorations on Christmas Eve. I was tired of pretending I cared for the holiday. I wanted my world to return back to normal. I don’t mind being by myself most days, but I don’t want reminders that I am by myself. And the Christmas tree and snowflakes and ornaments were taunting me. I hung them alone. I can take them down alone. This is my choice. I could join someone’s family for Christmas, but the idea of being an awkward addition to someone’s family makes me cringe. People inviting me to spend Christmas with their family is even worse. I’m not their family. They’re not my family.
People describe Christmas as being merry and bright. I just can’t, at least not this year. I don’t feel it, and I don’t want to. Reading through my personal journal, for the past six months, I have written about a pervasive sense of loneliness and sorrow and hidden weakness. Since, June all have increased to troubling levels. I am not myself. Actually, I am myself. I am myself, without God’s presence. Initially, I was periled, but I have recently leaned into embracing His absence. This is the reason, Christmas distresses me, because it is all about His presence.
What does one do, when the cheer and the merriment and the “all seems to say throw cares away” spirit is here, and you just can’t? You won’t. The best, I can do is remember the birth story. Not the pageant churches put on this year, but the real story. The story of Jesus being born amid a wide spread infanticide rivaling that of Pharaoh’s. The story of an old couple whose home was barren because they were childless. The story of two devout believers who prayed for decades and saw nothing. The story where a young teen is marred by her pregnancy out of wedlock and her fiance has to carry that shame with him. The story of a woman birthing a child in unsanitary conditions. The Christmas story does have merriment and brightness, but it is held in front of a backdrop of dark and shadow. What does this contrast mean? I think it means hope. Maybe my story, my willful absence of God, is a perfect scene for His presence to appear. I have chosen darkness. Maybe God will redeem (for His own glory) by sending light.
It's the creation story told once again. But did the darkness know Light was coming? Did it scurry back to the recesses of the galaxies to prepare the way? It's the creation story told once again. Can I hurry to the hidden places and embraces the shadows? Will, I be recreated or dwell in obscurity? Creation or Darkness Incarnation or Humanity Anticipation or Anxiety