I LOVE Christmas! I would start singing carols and trimming my house in early November if it were up to me. I love the warm feeling that the smell of evergreen, the glow of candlelight, the sound of "O Holy Night" and the taste of peppermint hot cocoa brings. I even like Christmas shopping! The bustle of like-minded people crowding holly-decked stores while the strains of Amy Grant's Christmas album (one of the four) beckon faintly through the hubbub — well, it energizes me! I LOVE CHRISTMAS!!!
Unfortunately, I live with Scrooge. He is a sweet and adorable Scrooge, but undeniably a Scrooge nonetheless. He doesn't like any hint of Christmas to enter his sphere of reference before December 1st. Christmas music in November? Humbug! Red and green decorating the house? Not yet! Dragging him to a shopping mall during the festive season is a painful experience for all involved — limited to once a year at most! And any mention of that most profane of all four-letter-words (SNOW) sends him spiraling into a depression.
So I have to be covert about it. I dig out the Christmas CDs about mid-November and listen to them through the day when he isn't home. The kids and I starting reading our millions of Christmas books around American Thanksgiving. And then the decorations start coming out. A few here and there, so he might not notice (I try to leave the snowmen for last).
But this year, I have to admit, my darling Ebenezer has been somewhat gracious about Yuletide preparations. We went Christmas shopping a couple of times in November, and he hardly complained, even admitting it might be a better time to do it, with smaller crowds and more selection (although he was drained of all energy afterward, as if I had forced him to endure some inhumane ritual!) He has been adament about "No Christmas Music when I'm around", but he made me some MP3 CDs of my favourite Christmas albums, so I can put one on the new Ipod/CD players and just let it play all day. He only made a passing mention of the first decorations I put out (one being a countdown to Christmas clock, which he didn't really appreciate). And when I suggested surprising the kids by putting up the downstairs "kids tree" on November 30, he was all for it! So I did, and subsequently decorated the whole house with my favourite Christmas trinkets. When he came home there was the comment that "it sure is Christmas-y in here", but no real complaints. He even agreed to go get the real tree next week before my parents arrive for a weekend visit. Maybe there is a small bit of Christmas spirit lurking somewhere inside that stony exterior.
My husband and I have had different experiences to shape our appreciation of the Christmas holidays. But he knows how very much I love this season, and as much as I feel the chasm of difference between us, I know he tries. And knowing this makes me love and appreciate him all the more! He knows that at this stage of our lives the most important part of Christmas is what we make it for our children: a celebration of the most important Birth our world has known, and an opportunity to worship joyfully while expressing love to those we hold dear. Yes, for them it is still about the presents and parades and decorations and Santa, despite how many times a day I remind them of WHY we are celebrating. I know that they understand that at our house Christmas isn't about Santa, it's about Jesus. And that isn't because I start playing carols in November. It's because they are lucky enough to have a Mom and Dad who agree about what celebrating Christmas means — even if our calendars are a little off!
I love you, Honey! Merry Christmas!