The holidays are upon us and shame is at a fever pitch...
You should make the holidays more epic! More gifts! More parties! More merriment! More brandy in the egg nog! Goooo!
But it also comes from the other direction…
You should be more minimalistic this holiday season! Slow down! It’s Advent! Don’t celebrate Christmas so soon! Why are you buying into the American consumerist Christmas, you materialistic heathen you?!
Like Christmas gifts, these exhortations come wrapped in many different packages and colors. Some are more direct. Some, more passive. But they’re received the same: with a cringe.
I don’t know what algorithm you’re in, but I’m seeing more of the latter online. The Advent police have their weapons drawn and they’re advancing with self-righteous intensity. The sense of shame I felt when we decorated the tree on Thanksgiving was concerning. Why am I feeling BAD about this?!
I’m chuckling as I write this, but maybe you’re not. Maybe it’s more real for you. Maybe you’re opting for tossing the whole Christmas thing out this year. Maybe the pain is too much to bear.
Whatever direction you’re getting the shame from, it comes from the same place - our own inner accuser (Satan). This nefarious voice sounds helpful. I mean, I should do that, right? It’s echoed (projected) at us from our friends and the articles that are ‘targeted’ towards our biases online. And we, in turn, can easily project our own inner accuser’s voice right back at the world growing cynical and bitter.
My prayer for you is this...
Whether you’re going nuts decking the halls or you’re finding yourself in the middle of a more solemn ‘blue’ Christmas (or nothing at all) - know that you have nothing to prove. Underneath the voice of the accuser, I pray that you hear the One True Voice within that faintly whispers nothing but full acceptance wherever you are. May you open your inner ear and direct your inner gaze towards This Voice. And may It rescue you from your most ideal versions of how things ‘should’ be.
“It’s hell to keep counting what God is no longer counting.”
- Fr. Robert Capon
(I’d say that God wasn’t ever really counting in the first place, but I could be wrong - and the sentiment is the same.)
It is Advent.
Rejoicing is on the way.
Whether you ‘do it right’ or not.
Grace & Godspeed,
P.S. I’ve had this Spotify playlist on repeat this Advent. It’s great writing music (no words) and puts you in the Christmas spirit without being too… over the top:)