owning it, baby!

i have a confession to make.
i’m a closet ‘let’s get christmas started as early as possible!’ person.

not so closeted?
did you know?

maybe what you don’t know is i honestly try to tone it down, to wait quietly, to not shout about it until it’s ‘okay’ to do so.
people actually can get pretty grouchy about this.

maybe i don’t do as good as job as i think i do of keeping a lid on it, but i HAVE tried.
to the point of hiding myself.

but this year i have felt the lid jiggling off…
and yesterday it landed with a big ol’ thud on the floor!

i am so done with the lid!
and i heard that as i carried on a bit on the phone with a friend who wasn’t into starting early or most of the stuff i’m into.
(to his credit, he allowed my rant and didn’t fuss at me for making it! thank you, sir! i totally appreciated it!)

here’s the deal –
you don’t have to be just like me.
in fact, i would be surprised if you were.
i know christmas is a hassle/struggle for a ton of people.
it has been for me before too.
but it’s not right now.
and that is something to grab while i’ve got.

something i’ve heard a lot is that christmas is about the birth of jesus and that gets lost in all the shuffle.

thing is, to be honest, that’s not what it’s about for me.
so it never gets lost, it never is part of it.
UNLESS you understand that for me, jesus symbolizes light and hope and the healing that we’re looking for.
THEN it’s completely about jesus.
i just have a different symbolic slant. that’s all.
and i roll it all into the christmas season.
and i fill it with holy!

and, i think, with just about anything, we gotta figure people are gonna take things and make their own angles with it.

i’m lighting hanukkah candles right now. all of them. not one at a time.
cause i really like the whole menorah lit up. and as i sat there looking at the gorgeous light given off by these candles this morning (yeah, morning, cause it’s dark and quiet and when i can sit with them) i thought of struggle and pain and miracles and belief and living. i honestly did. and i sat there holding some kinda acceptance of life for a moment. just for a moment, but i had it! that’s holy stuff.

i start the season every year on november 20th. the anniversary of losing a very special kid to suicide. on that day, i put up my outside lights. in the past, i would light them that nite, but then turn them off til after thanksgiving. didn’t want to make people grouchy. i am serious. how crazy is that?! not this year! i lit them and thought of every kid out there struggling, every adult, every human who was trapped in the dark wondering how to get out. i lit the dark with my lights and said a prayer for them out under the sky. and i’ve lit them every nite since.

for the first time in ten years, i didn’t hide it.
cause that should not be hidden.
no one will know. neighbors roll their eyes. ‘she’s at it again’
yeah. i am.
i’m at it again.

THE thing that i held on to the year my dad died was the christmas lights on people’s houses. the light. i held that so tight. what if someone holds the light from my house who is feeling lost? what a thought.

i decorate the inside of my house so much my kids call it ‘the christmas palace.’ and they want to celebrate here. they WANT to be here. holy holy everywhere. this year i had my tree up before thanksgiving so that when we strung popcorn on thanksgiving day, we could put it right on the tree!

my husband grins at my decorations, telling me it looks like a six year old decorated. and when he says that? i hear the love in his voice. he eggs me on and surprises me with things like hanging a tacky christmas shower curtain up in the bathroom without telling me so i find it and clap with delight! this year, he got lights to hang all over that same shower curtain that are so bright they turn the green shampoo and soap to a yellow color! (yeah, gotta not use that stuff!)

there is so much love behind those surprises.
that’s holy stuff.

i make stupid gifts. i buy stupid gifts. my sons are okay with me buying them things from the thrift store. they understand my budget. how amazing is this?

i listen to christmas music that makes me hold some of my sorrow and cry and each year learn to accept it more and more. i listen to stuff that makes me laugh and sing, i listen to stuff that swells god up right inside of me. i start early, baby. and i love it.

as much as i’ve tried to hide all this, stuff still leaks out. and people roll their eyes or grouch at me. and i have always felt like because i loved all this, i was a problem. seriously.

how wrong is that?
because i love all this, i can bring light to my world.
i can bring light.
i can hold light.
i can spread light.
and i can feel light for myself when i need it on a down day.

i can let people have their own ways, their own timings, their own traditions.
i have to stop calling people grinches!
(sorry to my friend about that!)
there’s room for all of us.
and no need for us to try to make the other fit our holiday mold.

and now, i not only won’t hide who i am with all of this,
i’m gonna own it and invite anyone in who wants to join me.

because, after all, tis the season!