To say I hate the rank commercial Christmas of the gift giving, excess in all things and the jolly fat man (especially) would be an understatement.  There is nothing wrong if those things make your Christmas, it’s just not mine.  Christmas to me is about Christ.  His birth.  The hope He brought to the world and the present of salvation He gifted to the world.  I enjoy the images of the angel or star at the top of the tree, the promise of spring the tree brings and Christmas hymns which herald the season.  I have a small nativity I put up instead of a tree because of the wonderful family who gifted it to me and the love which radiates from the small icons. That is Christmas to me.  Don’t get me wrong, presents are nice but there isn’t anything I need which I can’t get for myself, and stress buying has seen me getting a lot of stuff this month.  (Of which I’m still horribly shocked I spent so much on me!). This festive spending seemed to blacken the already dark mood from the first twinkle of Christmas lights on the house. I wasn’t going to put my nativity up this year because my room is a “pig stye” as I told my friend. She said it was fine, Christ was born in a manger, He would feel right at home. I immediately went home and put it in a safe place where Sammy couldn’t ‘play’ with it.

Christmas morning was special. After the family Christmas Eve of excess, there were bagels and herbal tea for breakfast and a round of opening presents. I didn’t buy anything for anyone because I didn’t think to and because I wasn’t used to Christmas mornings. Haven’t had one in dogs years. My nephew and his wife gave me stones to enhance creativity for my writing and a perfume spray called “Spiritual Gangsta”. My sister gave me a blank journal and a candle. I had nothing to give.

By the time I was ready to leave to take my last gift to my great nephew I was close to tears. I was both enraged and touched. I wanted Christmas to be over so I could just get back to the water treading I’ve been doing for what feels like forever now. I gathered my things and drove the hour or so towards their house when I was starting to get tired so I pulled off to get something fizzy with caffeine and something to eat. I got a soda and 20 nuggets. I know, it’s not really food but you can eat and drive without losing site of the road. I wasn’t that hungry but for the price, 20 pieces are the way to go. As I was driving out there was a man bundled against the cold holding a sign that said, “Anything, please.” I don’t really recall hearing the voice of God telling me to give that man half of my nuggets, or even the gentle whisper of the Spirit urging me to do anything at all. I pulled over, rolled down my window and gave him half my order, wished him a Merry Christmas and drove on. From that moment forward the anger, the dark mood or whatever you call the specter of the Grinch was gone. My soul was lighter and I felt the hope and joy the season is supposed to bring. That was Christmas.