Weaving the disparate strands of my life and belief system has been a challenge this holiday season. 11 months of the year, I can ride comfortably in the gap between society’s standards and my own. At Christmas, however the contradictions between Martha Stewart’s world and Julianne’s are a bit overwhelming. The commercialization of the holiday creates pressure that I resist each year.
Aside from making sure my home is festive, cooking the requisite holiday treats and wrapping and tagging the kids’ gifts, I will try to avoid the trite holiday rituals and commercialism of Christmas in order to focus on what feels real to me. My childrens’ excited smiles, the spiritual harmony associated with the advent of Christ, and the warm greetings offered by random strangers every time the words: “Merry Christmas” are uttered are the things that get me into the Christmas spirit.
I may never visit a nearby Lexus dealership at Christmas, and that Mercedes Benz with the huge bow on it belongs to my neighbor. I am not expecting a gift of a carat or more, and I’m okay with that. What I want for Christmas, and what I want to give to others…is a reflection of the healing power of Christ and the universal love he ushered into the world. Those are the real gifts of the season. Last time I checked, those things are still free.