Captains Log—day eleventeen million, three hundred-thousand and sixty-five—this pandemic has officially become the cousin who can’t take a hint when it's time to leave.
Rona has made herself at home and looks to be sticking around for sweater weather and to see the twinkling lights. To add insult to injury, she invited a couple of her friends. “The most wonderful time of the year,” my foot. I could feel my curmudgeonly displeasure bubbling, and my gag reflex was steady building as I already saw the sighting of matching pyjamas flooding my timeline. Which was sure to be followed by the bazillion “I said yes” under the mistletoe.
Suddenly, my thoughts of Christmases past were met with the harsh present-day reality that all things I'd hoped for to this end seemed out of reach with no end in sight. (Sigh) Bah Humbug! The longer I pondered, the more I got irritated. The mere thought of my Christmas lather, rinse, repeat cycle was steady, giving me the heebie-jeebies. "So, pretty girl like you een married yet?" was about to be the question I now consider more irritating than the near interrogations about my weight influxes.
In fact, any social outing where I'd face an opportunity to be grilled by all the insensitive people was gonna get me all in my feelings or force me to hurt some feelings. I wasn't interested in either parity. Believe me; I didn't need an office memo issued to remind me that I was growing older by the second. Nor did I need an update that my womb has somehow shrivelled up and become utterly useless (at least that's how they'd make you feel). While this time of year should be about togetherness, it's the pressure to 'be' that makes you wanna take a hard pass.
And there it was, the thought that enveloped me like a snuggy and made me feel the need to fill the void. I was about five seconds from texting whats-his-face, "Hey big-head," when I got an alert—scrolling through my contacts, about to pull up his number, and BAM! The 'A sprinkle of Jesus' app notification flashed across the screen. (SMT) Even before I read it, I knew it would be something that tugged at my heart and would nudge me in a different direction.
There it was, staring back at me, "Reach for Jesus, like you reach for your phone!" Ugghhh!!! I saw that and immediately knew I was about to have a come-to-Jesus moment sooner than I wanted. That message made me aware my heart was compromised, and I was about to make a long-term decision based on a temporary feeling.
Pique down and don't beat me with your "Oh-Em-Gee, I thought she was a Christian!" stick. Cause sometimes, Christians are the ones most disgruntled. Still, my un-Christ-like thoughts and unwarranted feelings were not a fire drill. I needed to drop everything and find the nearest exit, stat! I went to my secret place and began to talk with Jesus. The more I spoke, the more I realized how my focus on Christmas had become so skewed. After all, nothing exposes holiday discontent like hearing Jingle Bells, right?
“What’s so merry about Christmas, anyway?” you may ask, especially when you’re feeling alone, even in a room full of people. I can attest to how easy it is to see what you don’t have because you’re watching the lives of others, seemingly enjoying all that you want. I know one thing to be true, it's easy to admire that the neighbour’s grass is green when you’re not the one putting in the work to water it. Which is to say, it’s easy to focus on what you believe you want; but only soon after you get it, you’ll see you’re not as prepared for what it takes to keep it.
So I ask, “What are your eyes fixed on during this season?” If you’re continually scrolling on social media all day, watching what someone has and not taking the time to appreciate where you are, you’ll forever be miserable—juxtaposed between being scroggy or Grinchy. If this pandemic has taught me anything, it’s how much I can do without. I get how Christmas seems like a reminder of what you lack and how God has not come through. But I challenge you to shift your perspective.
What if God did exactly what He said He'd do? I had to ask myself, “What if all the closed doors to this point meant He's preserved me?” Amidst my come-to-Jesus moment, it was like all the Ghosts of Christmas Past had visited me at once. There I was thinking of all positions I'd been qualified for but passed on and the ex’s who are perhaps now sending out their Christmas family portraits. I was stuck neck-deep in my life of shoulda, coulda, wouldas. Yet, I hadn’t taken the time to realize and appreciate my current state and that I am doing all the things I imagined as a child.
For a long time, I’d forgotten about all the times 10-year-old-me looked through the Xerox catalogue, picking the perfect desk and chair, thinking about how I would one day have my own business. I had forgotten how I told God if He gave me nothing else, all I ever wanted to be was a writer. It hadn't even dawned on me how the thing that started out on pages where I vented has transformed into testimonies that help people I've never met. All, no longer a dream but my reality.
There I was, minimizing all the answered prayers but magnifying and focusing on a status that was never high on my list of priorities to begin with. Why? All because I had my focus on someone else’s life, not basking in the joy that was mine.
Believe me, when I say Christmas is the opportune time to readjust your focus. Don't be a Scrooge mumbling "Bah Humbug" under your breath and walking around like a sourpuss, wondering why everyone else is happy and you ain't. And don't be a Grinch basking in self-induced seclusion, mad at the folks who choose to be satisfied.
Rid yourself of that weight of comparison so that you can experience the joy of Christmas. If the meaning of Christmas is Christ, then in the words of Scrooge,“ I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” and to that, I add, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere if Jesus isn’t there.