Maybe it’s the expectation that gets me. All year I do my best to fake normal when I’m just not feeling it. Oh, stop it. I don’t mean all the time. But, you know, there are those occasions, those moments, when I know damn good and well I am supposed to be feeling happy or sad or generous and instead I just want to shake the holy shit out of somebody.
But, at Christmas time, it seems that every television commercial, every bell ringing Santa is demanding a degree of involvement with the human race that, much of the time, I am just not capable of giving. It’s not about the gifts, I give very few of those and, long ago, stopped giving to those who suffer from chronic ungratefulness. It’s not about the birth of Christ. I love the story of The King bringing long-awaited hope into the dirtiest, most common corner of the world and of us.
So, what is it about this season that pulls me into a downward spiral?
No, seriously, I’m asking you.
Does anyone else find this time of year a drain? Do you walk out the door humming Emmanuel and come home cussing crowds and old people with those stupid coin purses that look like plastic mouths? Anyone else walk into church to kneel at the feet of the baby Jesus and leave knowing damn well your spouse is going to hate, I mean hate, that gift you were so sure when you paid too much for it they’d love? Do you travel hundreds, maybe thousands, of miles to be with family and, approximately four and a half minutes after you arrive, begin counting the hours until you leave?
This year, I give up. No tree. No decorations. Maybe the season will surprise me and bring a teensy bit of that overpublicized joy.
If not, well. January is just around the corner.