Christmas Day Thoughts

Submitted by Lucy Anne on Wed, 12/25/2013 - 19:07

We’ve been brainwashed. With all the frenzy crazy gift wrapping and gift giving, the feastings and the parties, and just the season itself. We’ve been brainwashed with what Christmas is really all about.

I don’t know how all of you celebrate Christmas, but for me, every year my family on my mom’s side has a dinner at my family’s home. Sometimes both of our uncles would make it, and Grandma would arrive with dozens of the many dishes she had made. My mom always roasted pineapple ham and baked sweet potatoes. And then, after dinner and dishes, we would open the presents.

We haven’t put up our Christmas tree for at least four years. And our “gift-giving” varies each year – sometimes we would make sure everyone received a gift, and other times it would be just my sisters and me. I actually remember sitting in Macy’s with my sisters surrounded by Christmas ornaments and tiny porcelain nativity scenes as we waited for my mother who was waiting on the line for my father’s gift to be wrapped.

In the recent years, my sisters and I have specifically asked for something. (In the past it would be a surprise.) One year it was BJU Journey books from Rainbow Resource, another year, it was Ballet Magnificat! DVDs, and another year, it was board games from Rainbow Resource. Last year, my parents ordered a New York Times subscription for me, but my sisters never got the Scrabble they had half-promised. (Well, they kind of got it, but it’s a long story. We just got carried away with life, and it never really was that important to us.)

What about this year? Well, last Wednesday, my sister Elena got sick. She came down with fever and cough. Then we officially started the domino effect. Esther got sick. The next day, I too. Then on Friday, Rachel. We all coughed, and had sore throats. I had headaches and backaches and I couldn’t read, or go on the computer, or write. I wasn’t even interested in touching a pen, even though I knew I should. All we did was lie on the couch, and feel miserable.

And church was coming up, too, in a few days! We had already cancelled friday prayer meeting. But oh, church! They had planned to have a carry-in meal, christmas carol, and pass out homemade cookies. And the weather – an outrageous seventy degrees!

I am the type of person that struggles with change of plans. I like unexpected plans, for instance, I love surprise guests, and being a one too. But when plans that I’ve been looking forward to change, I get upset. I don’t like change of plans.

So I was praying and begging God to let us go to church, to heal us immediately. Because I believe in miracles. I kept asking without ceasing, because I believed and I was a child and I trusted that God would answer me. But I also said that His will be done.

So when God decided that we shouldn’t go to church, I cried. That doesn’t mean I did not submit to His plan, it just meant that I needed to cry. All the emotions in me needed to go. I hate my habit of trying to act tougher than I really am. I wasn’t angry on God’s decision, no, but while I was crying, I hated myself for crying. Then I asked myself if I was thinking of everything all wrong. If I had been brainwashed on what I think Christmas should be like.

My parents are not buying us Christmas presents this year. We are going to stay home and I am going to make dinner. No, I’m not upset about this, but this forces me to think about my attitude on Christmas. I’m still a child at heart, and gifts are always something pleasant to look forward to. There! That’s my problem. I have been brainwashed. The gifts and gift-gibing, the tree, the lights, the wreaths…all that is not at all what Christmas is supposed to be full of.

Christmas is about Christ’s lowly birth in the manger, and His glory nonetheless, His death and resurrection – all so we might have life and serve Him. That is what Christmas is. Christ-mas, not Gift-mas.

Jesus Christ is given to all of us.

So I wrestled inside last week. Actually, I’m still wrestling. Am I content all the way in my heart? Am I at peace that I am sick and we all must stay home and it’s Christmas? That we missed caroling and church? Last week I cried because I couldn’t keep it in any longer. I had wanted to go to church so badly, yet I knew since it was not God’s Will, I must submit with a glad heart.

You see, I always want to be brave no matter how rough life is. But there’s this tangible balloon that does not always hold all the air in. I’m learning to keep it full with the right emotions – the pleasant, joyful, and godly. Like what Paul said. “Whatever is lovely…think on these things.” But sometimes I feel like I’m a cracked tea cup that has been pieced together with weak glue. I keep breaking apart and trying to piece myself by myself. No one knows when I weep, because I hide it. I even lock myself in the bathroom, if needed. I must be more humble, and let God help me work through my pride. Not be so hard outside when I’m all broken inside. Instead of being a mixture of lots of cornstarch and little water – you squeeze it, and it’s rock, but as soon as you let go, the liquid runs down and liquidizes.

This Christmas, even though it’s rather quiet with no Christmas presents, no tree, no big “celebrating”, I’m kind of glad. That was not what Christmas was supposed to be anything.

Every year we change traditions of the way we celebrate Christmas, but every year one thing will always stay the same: the birth of Jesus. We need to stop being brainwashed with Christmas ideals, and stop and thank God for all the gifts HE has given us. Even if we’re sick and can’t go anywhere. I don’t need presents. Because if you think about your past year, and I think about my past year, we’ve been getting “Christmas gifts” from the Gift-giver Himself.

So right now, I am going to dwell happily on God and His glory, and remember this past year by writing down the best and worst parts. And start peeling those apples for the apple pies and making dinner with my sister (mom gets the break today!) – string bean casserole, yams, and shepherd’s pie.

So have a Merry Christmas!! May you be blessed like never before!

Author's age when written

Okay, I tried. I slapped perfectionism thoughts out of the way and forced myself to write at least SOMETHING. Merry Christmas!! I'd like to know what you all do for Christmas usually. :)


YES, sadly we HAVE been brain washed. We actually didn't celebrate Christmas (with presents and tree) for a few years. It's only been in the last five or six years that we've been doing that I think. This year, mom made home made presents (which homemade gifts are always special!)
Anyways, for Christmas, we wake up, read the Christmas story, then we get our stockings and presents. Then, we make breakfast, and then clean up the house and THEN start on lunch. So, we usually watch the movie A Christmas Carol, but this year we're planning on watching The Nativity Story. Anyways, I hope you and your family are all feeling better now! Hope y'all had a good Christmas! :)

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When I was younger, change was the hardest thing for me to deal with. I still struggle with it somewhat in the form of expectations... instead of being grateful for what's before me, I can be discontent because it doesn't match up with what I envisioned. I have to admit - if we ourselves didn't have a tree or exchanged gifts, my emotions would be lower because those things are part of the celebration in my mind. But you're right: there are deeper core elements to Christmas that go way beyond a tree and presents. I admire your attempt to dig for what's of true value, your wish to rejoice no matter what, and you allowing your emotions to flow as well. And, really, I'm astounded at your bravery, because I myself would find it very hard to not have the 'trappings' and ribbons and bows of the holiday. You are definitely a courageous soul, Megan, and that will carry you through anything that comes your way in life. I hope your Christmas was beautiful with your family and that you all continue to heal up.

Thank you, you two Sarahs! :)
Sarah Bethany, thanks for taking the time to write what you did. I needed it. Thank you! And we did have a great Christmas!
Edit: Well, I guess that even though we didn't exchange gifts and all that, we still were together and so I didn't really miss it. But because we've been brainwashed, gifts are something that just makes Christmas "even more special" sometimes. But one thing that's great is my birthday is very soon, which is a think I always look forward to AFTER Christmas, and why I love January. ;)

"It is not the length of life, but the depth of life." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nice job, Megan. I was wondering where you were on Sunday. Sorry you missed it. :'(

"The trip is a difficult one. I will not be myself when I reach you."-When I Reach Me.

Hannah Lynn, well, it is not that we DON'T get gifts, it is just that this year we DIDN'T. My parents weren't like, okay kids let's talk...we're not getting you's just that I know and we all know that we're not getting it because (1) we didn't ask or wish for anything strongly in particular, (2) no UPS came in the mail, and (3) we were very busy with life. I am wary of asking for a particular Christmas gift vs. birthday gift, because I feel like I have already been blessed so much to be trying to get something else. Besides, you never remember what you get last year anyway. And Christmas is not about gifts I the first place.

But, in the end, we did get a Christmas gift. Kind of. But not really. My sister got a "Christmas" gift and I got my birthday gift. You see my mom and I were just looking online for clothes for whatever random reason, and I found something a dress I really, really liked so we got that, and since it makes it convenient, she said it was my birthday gifts and the skirt that she got for my sister, we said it was her Christmas gift when seriously it kind of isn't. Well, we have inside jokes that won't makes sense even if I tried to explain, and we joke around about having no presents in my family.

Joziah, I KNOW, we missed everything right?! Well, hopefully we will make it this week and Melissa has Joey's Story and the next time I see you I will tell you what I think about the book. I can't wait to see your reaction. Bri said that church was great, and I am sure it was.


"It is not the length of life, but the depth of life." Ralph Waldo Emerson

It's always interesting to hear about other people's Christmas traditions. While I always appreciate my Christmas gifts, as I grow older, it's actually easier to focus on Jesus instead of the presents I recieve.

Formerly Kestrel

Megan, like somebody said (can't remember who) you are very courageous and brave.
For my story, our family has always celebrated Christmas and gift giving, but in the past few years we've actually looked into what this is all about. Apparently, the 25th of December was a pagan holiday. Also, having a tree with I think it was the ball decorations on it... was part of their festive thing as well. I think it became a Christian thing when missionaries went over to these people and then made it into a Christian holiday. Oh well. We still celebrate it because all our extended family does and to not give/receive gifts from and to them would be confusing and end up hurting people, heh, especially with some of the feuds going on at the moment between them :(
Though, in our immediate family, we don't give big gifts, we save it for birthdays. And this year, instead of tree, we had a little baby Jesus in a box and some hay.
Anyway, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and all that sweet stuff to you, Megan!

Goodbye? Oh no, please. Can’t we just go back to page one and start all over again?” – Winnie The Pooh