December 23, 2010
I spoke with someone recently about their imminent visit with their family this coming Christmas. They were not looking forward to it, drawing up both present drama and remembering past grievances revolving around them all. Also a state of pity hung about them, confessing that visiting the family for Christmas was rather depressing.
Another person earlier in the week spoke to me about their Christmas plans with their family. This person went through some troubling times with family, but over a period of decades the situation got better and respectful. There’s not much undercurrent of resentment or residual spite leftover, or at least not enough to overshadow a celebration. Yet they still find the time wholly stressful, and find themselves depressed after watching too many christmas family movies that depicts a slice of what many people fear around Christmastime.
What is so stressful about Christmas? Perhaps there’s more to it than just the overenthusiastic commercialization vulture squads.
Perhaps just spending time with those that are closest to us, that know us the best are stressful enough. It reminds us where we come from, no matter how we wish to pretend otherwise, it reminds us what we have,
and perhaps depressingly, what we lack, and it shows us the parts of who we are that we don’t let others see and like to believe aren’t there. But Family won’t really let us.
How stressful the very first Christmas must have been for the divine family. Poor mary, having to travel so much in a crowded city and forced to give birth (while still a virgin!) in a pile of dirty hay in a rock outcove adapted for domestic animals, and meanwhile travellers from all over are peering in to witness a “King,” not knowing really what all this entails.
Poor Joseph, dutifully providing for a young woman and a son of questionable origin, and knowing that there will be subtle contempt toward the family for it, and having to lead the family from the sword of a madman puppet king.
How vulnerable the family must have been.
But I know not a genuine love without vulnerability. How fortunate that we are vulnerable to our beloved family, as opposed to a stranger.
Remember, keep your friends close, your enemies closer, and your family closest
Merry Christmas. Amen