It sure didn’t feel like Christmas this year. I never did put up a tree. A wreath did make it to the door and a sad little plastic waving Santa did make it to the front porch. I say sad, because, he never got plugged in and he kept falling over in the wind, so most of the time he just looked like he needed a chalk outline drawn around him. Hell, I never even watched Rudolph or Frosty this year, completely missing the meaning of Christmas this year!!
December 22nd: It took me all day to calculate that the best time for me to go to the mailbox and get Santa (who had blown into the yard this time) would be after dark. I didn’t want to get in the way of all the holiday comings and goings in the subdivision. Plus, there’s the whole hideous monster thing, best for another time.
December 23rd: I decided to actually leave the house to pick up something to eat. Driving back home, my impeccable timing put me in front of a family pulling out from a nearby church’s Sunday service. The driver – the father, all dressed in his Sunday before Christmas best - tailgated me and swerved from side to side to supposedly make his inconvenience even more visible to me. When I braked and put on my blinker to turn into my subdivision, he nearly hit me. Looking back at him in my mirror, I saw him yelling in my direction and giving me the finger.
December 24th: I went to the post office and re-routed (there was NO parking at Target) to Wal-Mart for two space heaters. I normally don’t shop on Christmas Eve day, but I really had to. The check out girl looked me in the eye, smiled and said, “Merry Christmas” when she handed me the receipt. As I left, the Salvation Army bell ringer man looked me in the eye, smiled and said, “Merry Christmas. You stay warm now. And keep that smile.” It was the most live human contact I’ve had in over a week. And it would be counted among one of my few, but precious Christmas gifts this year.
December 25th: I watched the National Cathedral Service this morning. One of the sermons was ever so Christianly called, “I want what you have”. Of course, what was meant was that the light and peace within we Christians should make others want to ask us what brings us such joy, which in turn, provides us with the opportunity to witness. Or flip birds in traffic. Or say we have four children who need donated coats when we only have one child. Or thank Jesus for “blessing” us with a new car. Or preach to our congregation in the morning, and leave our wife and kids for our mistress's house in the evening. Or ungratefully gripe about our Christmas holidays. I called Austin to wish him Merry Christmas. He got mad at me, because I couldn’t hear him above all the talking in the background. He had to go after exactly 47 seconds because his problem-child cousin showed up and started messing with his game controller. The worst Lifetime movie I have ever seen was just interrupted by a commercial for two interlocking metal sticks that can be squeezed together to build bigger breasts and purchased for only $19.95.
I realize I could and probably should have spread some Christmas cheer by going to a church service or volunteering at a downtown mission, but given my recent experiences with both of these, I know when to leave well enough alone and stay away from others. Christmas 2006 felt better. Christmas 2008 will too.