"We know that all things work together for good for those who love God."
I come from a family that wasn't big on Christmas. By the time all the kids had gone to college, scarcely any effort went into Christmas back home. My father tried—he put a plastic wreath on the front door one year—but it wasn't easy to swim against the current of my mother's cynical attitude toward the holidays. She claimed to believe it was all a crock—not just the commercialism, but also what she considered the phony piety of religious people, the idiotic Christmas tunes on the car radio, and the pure insanity of light displays on people’s houses.
One year, on the day before Christmas when my sister and brother and I were home from school and sitting around the un-decorated house devoid of any smells of baking or anything like that, my sister and I decided to go out and get a tree. It was already dark, about 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve. We drove to a tree lot in her Volkswagen. I know, what kind of tree can you take home in a Volkswagen? We didn't think about it. On the way back, we ran out of gas. It was snowing. I don't remember how we got the tree or ourselves home, or what we did about the car or anything else about that Christmas. I just remember the exhilarating last-minute decision to go out and get the tree. It was a gift I got from cynicism.
The cynical are not really trying to spoil things for everyone else. They're disappointed. And it can be arrogant to judge the severity of their disappointments, or presume to know what they are—or to be certain that they aren't waiting for Christmas, too. So if you have a Scrooge in the family—or are one yourself—put up a plastic wreath and go out and get a tree anyway. Make sure you have enough gas.
Bless all those who buy the last trees on the lot and get all their Christmas presents from Walgreen's, all those who leave their unilluminated houses and arrive at church late on Christmas Eve, not even dressed up.
About the Author
Christina Villa is the Editorial Director of the Stillspeaking Writers' Group.
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