Tuesday, December 24, 2013

It Doesn't Look A Thing Like Christmas (2013)

I'm not going to sugar coat it; Christmas doesn't feel or even resemble Christmas this year. I'm not with family, I'm living alone in a tiny little apartment in Oklahoma City. My family is in Indiana, and even they aren't celebrating in what you could consider to be a traditional style. No one I know is. I've not run across one single person who is doing what they normally do. It's either because of weather, work, money, family, or other situations, but this year Christmas is just ...well, not Christmas!

I don't have a single garland hanging; there was no reason to hang decorations if I live alone. I don't have a tree up, no decorations, and I haven't purchased a single present to wrap. I bought things for my kids and grandkids and I boxed them up about two weeks ago, sending them through the United States Postal Service; at least I wrapped the exterior in bright yellow paper so they would be easy to see in the piles of other boxes at the distribution centers. Something I never do, but I did. I mailed off Christmas presents. It was the beginning (I think) of what became (or is) the strangest little Christmas ever. Could I go up to Arcadia to see my parents and siblings? I don't know, maybe, but I don't want to. I love my parents, my brother, my sisters, nieces and nephews, but I'm not motivated to drive 30 miles to eat with people I rarely speak to. It seems like a waste of time, but in reality it's not even possible this year due to another strange event that just took place out of no where.  The Black Friday Target Scandal...I'm actually a victim!

My best friend Jeannie and I went shopping on Black Friday, after the crowds of course, and one of our stops was at my neighboring Target store. I think I did spend about $300 there on gifts for my family, food, and the things I have to have to survive for the month of December, as I'm paid only once a month as a teacher and Black Friday was the day I was paid actually. The last day of the month fell on a weekend; so we were paid a day early. That actually turned out to be a bad thing.  I was one of over 40,000,000 others whose credit card information was taken by thieves. The week following Black Friday I was wiped out completely. It was a very good thing for me that I had already paid my rent, car payment, insurance, and other necessary bills. It did leave me without extra money for food after the 15th of the month, and gasoline for my car was certainly an issue. I did manage to have JUST enough gas to get back and forth to work until the day we were let out for Christmas break. God has a sense of humor! Now I'm literally stuck in my apartment with very little food but at least I'm safe and sound. I have the dogs to keep me company, and I have the ineternet as well as television and Netflix to keep me entertained. (oh, but I really should be studying for the Common Core test to get my Principal's certificate!)

No decorations, no tree, no garland, no traditional food and really no Christmas spirit...with the one exception that I'm well aware that over 2000 years ago, and probably not on December 25, a baby was born to Mary and Joseph; two fine upstanding citizens of the City of David. To them our Savior was born, and this is what Christmas is to me...a celebration of His birth.  It's appropriate that I only have animals to share it with since He was born in a barn and laid in a manger that first night. Doves are outside my apartment on my balcony eating the last seeds I had to offer them until I'm paid or the bank returns my disputed funds in a few days. God takes care of His creatures, every last one of us. This is the meaning of Christmas. It's OK if I don't have presents under a non-existent tree. It's OK if I don't have mounds of food to feed myself, friends, family, or anyone else. It's OK if I just sit quietly studying for the future, because Jesus is the reason I have a future.

What does Christmas even look like?  Today it looks sunny, bright, cold, and as the ice melts off my car and balcony, Christmas looks wet and shiny.  Merry Christmas to you. Now I have to go snuggle with the dogs for a while - - and call my grandbabies and kids!