Thursday, December 12, 2013

The World Needs More Unironic Glitter Glue (Or, I Can't Help Loving Christmas)

Image by Currier & Ives

by Lyndsey Graves 

I can’t help loving Christmas.

Sometimes I think it’s not very cool to love Christmas. Lots of people like to run around reminding everyone that it’s a pagan holiday (and therefore, somehow, utterly godless); some people have an understandable aversion to the commercialism of the season, which taints their enjoyment in the whole thing; and other people seem to relish cultivating a Scrooge-y, Grinch-y Scrinchiness, simply for the sake of being contrary. But I am one of those people who just believes in Christmas spirit.

I don’t know exactly why. I’m usually a pretty suspicious, critical person; I spent Thanksgiving weekend in equal parts watching football and analyzing misogyny in football TV commercials. But I am 100% bought into Christmas time, Christmas cookies, Christmas gifts, tinsel, lights, and praying for snow. 

This isn’t because I am immune to the frustrating parts of the season. I’m not as busy as some  - no parties to host, no kids in pageants, no church services to organize like my seminary pastor-friends. Further, I also happen to like my family and don’t mind driving long distances. Yet, December for me is and always will be fraught with finals frenzy, and as a student I always pick up extra work hours in order to afford a few gifts. I’m not just making paper snowflakes and singing Alvin and the Chipmunks all month.
Image by Susan Smith

So what do I mean by “Christmas spirit”? If there’s something beyond the shopping and rushing and Pinteresting, something warm and human and divine – what is that something supposed to be?

I certainly can’t say there’s anything objectively special about December 25th, unless it’s that, growing up in Georgia, praying for snow teaches you stubborn hope for things as distant and unlikely as the Advent of the Messiah. Maybe the dark of winter is, after all, a good time for an unlikely-bright celebration of such an unlooked-for king. And yes, that story itself has much to do with what I love about Christmas, but you’ll forgive me if I am a bit more enchanted by the donkeys and magic stars and cousins leaping in wombs than by the incarnation. I’m a theology student and “incarnation” is the only word any of us knows anymore. 

My Christmas just isn’t going to be hyper-seriously-spiritual this year; after term papers on theological concepts and obligations of all kinds, I’m gonna need down-to-earth sugar sprinkles and a Linus-reciting-Luke level of heady theological engagement.

Image by gravity_grave
Maybe “Christmas spirit” just means to me that I love seeing everyone try just a bit harder, approach the world with a little more openness and love. Just because we can – and, when we remember, because God is with us – we try to make a day more special for each other. We remember to surround ourselves with music and to feed each other real food. We let Christ’s birth into humanity call us back to our own humanity. If we’re lucky, we even get to take actual time off work to actually be with our families. 

The world needs more un-ironic glitter glue. As long as my Christmas still has those moments beyond the money-spending, pine-needle-sweeping, and Scotch tape emergencies, I’ll still believe in the magic of the whole thing.

Lyndsey lives in Boston, MA where she is pursuing her Master's in Theological Studies at Boston University. She enjoys Community, Mad Men and Beauty and the Beast and her spirit animal is a sloth. She would like to know if this is some kind of interactive theater art piece. You can follow her on Twitter @lyndseygraves and you can find more of her writing at her blog To Be Honest.
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