Is it?

It’s the most wonderful time of the year
With the kids jingle belling
And everyone telling you “Be of good cheer”
It’s the most wonderful time of the year

In the background I could hear that exquisite voice of Andy Williams singing that classical holiday tune. I’ve grown up on steady diet of Andy Williams at Christmas! He was a staple at my house and so, when I hear that silky smooth voice, I’m immediately transported to childhood memories of the warmth of the holidays with family and friends gathered around the piano and a brightly lit tree, singing songs of the season.

I’m all grown up now and am left with only the memories. Over the years, the pictures of those holidays have changed. My grandparents on both sides, who instilled a love of this holiday, are now, with the exception of my paternal grandmother, passed on. Some of our family and many of the friends we were so close to when I was a kid parted ways with us due to religious differences. And now my memories are all I have of a happier time, and they are fading with age.

I am like a lot of people during this time of the year; filled with the spirit of Scrooge or the Grinch! At some point, the holidays became a battle ground with too many overly cheery people vying for my affections and the increasing grip of materialism requiring ever larger gifts, deepening my debt woes. There have been times when I just want to climb into my warm bed and stay there, with all the lights out, hibernating perhaps, coming out only to celebrate the dawn of a new year (I’ve always been good at that…celebrating that is). For someone like me, who is generally the most positive, upbeat person in the room, this time of year is like kryptonite to Superman. No matter how good my intentions at the start of the season, by this time of December, I find myself rapidly falling into a depressed mood. It’s ugly! I feel ugly! I want the world to go away and quit placing demands on me! I feel like I’m starting to hate Christmas!

Shocking I know! But it’s my reality! My tree is up and decorated and the stockings are hung over the fireplace. Candles are glowing and I look as though I should be enjoying this “hap-happiest season of all”…but I’m not! Soon I will be spending time with family I love, giving gifts, playing games, sharing laughs and the things we are thankful for and then, just like that, it will be over and I’ll start to breath a little easier. WHY?

Why is it that during what is supposed to be the happiest season of the year more people commit suicide than at any other time throughout the year? Why is there a run on the depression hotlines unlike any other time of the year? Why do more and more people dread this “celebration” season?

Could it be that we have gotten away from what really matters? The memories I have, remind me of a simpler time! A time when what was important was being together and sharing the love of family with “hearts all aglow.” I don’t know what happened, but for many people, including me, this isn’t the most wonderful time of the year at all.

BUT, I’m trying to change that! I’m trying real hard because there are little ones around me who are developing their own memories and I want for them to have the same kind of memories I have; where love is the gift that is shared and not some over-the-top something designed to gauge the size of our love. Every day this month, I’ve gotten up and reminded myself that this season is about God’s love…for ME! But not just for me, for ALL of his creation!

During this season, there are so many demands, both internal and external, pulling and pushing and jockeying for position and I struggle to keep my head up. BUT…I am! And I’m doing it by constantly reminding myself that it’s not about me at all…it’s about HIM! And no matter my mood, or state of mind, as long as I can remember that this season is about LOVE, I can honestly hum along with Andy Williams…

It’s the most wonderful time of the year
There’ll be much mistltoeing
And hearts will be glowing
When love ones are near
It’s the most wonderful time
It’s the most wonderful time
It’s the most wonderful time
It’s the most wonderful time of the year

j.

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