Two Christmases

While I was earnestly trying to attend to November,  CHRISTMAS snuck in here. 
It held its jingle-belled slippers, staying oh so silent, then began a  
flamboyant Yule-tide dance in the foyer. 
It's in there right now, noisily celebrating its own victorious invasion.

I had avoided it so far. It tried to leap into my cart several times on the weekly grocery shop. Did you know - CHRISTMAS perches in gaudily clad holiday trees put out waaayyyy too early. It races along rows of colorful children's toys shouting, "SALESALESALE!"  It swings its legs from endcap displays of tantalizingly shiny kitchen utensils. Have you seen it, too? CHRISTMAS gestures you closer, thumbs a ride in the bag of any merry holiday shopper.  It buckles its oversized self into your cart seat, to plead and beg for every trimming and trapping of the holiday.

Now hunkered down in a quiet corner as CHRISTMAS celebrates its entry in the rest of my  house via blaring CHRISTMAS music, I contemplate what will certainly follow. CHRISTMAS will get out its dayplanner and regiment my December with its never-ending seasonal tasks.  CHRISTMAS CARDS, CHRISTMAS BAKING, CHRISTMAS WRAPPING, CHRISTMAS DECORATING, CHRISTMAS GIFT LISTS ... CHRISTMAS drags me in to its celebration, exhausting as I try to keep up with all its demands, and finally disappointing, as CHRISTMAS will, every year.

All the while another Christmas gazes at me silently, in sharp contrast to its imposter, inviting me to join another kind of Holiday. 
One without blaring music. 
One in which perfectly arranged ribbon and wrapping don't matter. 
Without candy canes or jingle bells, elves small or large. 
Without BB guns, hippopotamuses or missing front teeth.

Christmas draws me forward, past all that. It points toward the Star and urges me to prepare my heart to celebrate the Christ Child, the Incarnation. I find it kneeling in unexpected places, thanking the Father for sending His Son. Absent at Walmart, Christmas is busy at the local shelter packing boxes of supplies, holding a hand, or cupping a child's cheek. 
It calls,   
"Good News!"   
"Emmanuel - God with us!"    
"Good will toward men!"

This Christmas offers HOPE  that leaves no dregs of disappointment behind to be swept up with those pesky nylon icicles. SATISFACTION that doesn't demand to be shed like those last two (five!) pieces of fudge. BEAUTY that delights far more deeply than even the loveliest blinking CHRISTMAS lights.

I may not be able to get rid of CHRISTMAS this year, since it's already clambering about the downstairs, but I can decline some of its demands. I can choose to join the real Christmas instead. This year I'm going to squint past the antics of CHRISTMAS, and lend an ear to what Christmas is saying. I'll turn an eye in the direction it's pointing and put my hand to what really matters, in the spirit of 
True Christmas.