Entries in Charlie Brown (1)


wonder lost is wonder gained

I lost the wonder. The excitement and the joy — it’s been replaced by an imposter, trader and artifice. Slowly seeping in, year after year, it worsened like a disease killing off the shiny glimmer of Christmas ornaments. My hope in Christmas dinner — a ham, potatoes and gravy — diminished as the china platters seemed less important. It was these, I thought, that made Christmas.

These shiny objects and dining room. These glittery presents tied with a bow. Most of all, these loving people who surround me. This so-called family of mine that I’ve been gifted. This is Christmas, a sense of home, a sense of space, a sense of importance and significance.

But like I said, someone’s done me in. The Grinch stole cheer from the one who wins “awards” for things like being a “half-glass full” type person. This is me we’re talking about.

My hope is gone. My anxiety is high. Christmas spirit is at an all-time low. With less than a week away, I find myself in a pit of despair, scared to think of what may come next week. You see, my hope in the glimmer of Christmas ornaments, presents, cheer and family have escaped into the world of reality. That beast — one-eyed, two-faced, monstrous beast — has risen breathing fire. My Christmas went up in flames. Harsh, but true in many ways.

Christmas is no longer perfect. It probably won’t be again.

So it’s hard. It’s stressful. It’s sad.

To think of Christmas day and not have joy immediately come to mind, but to be overwhelmed by anxiety. To think of staying at home and not have it sound peaceful. To not be excited about cooking Christmas dinner when cooking is one of my favorites. Clearly, something is wrong.

And there is. This world is not perfect. This world is sinful and hurtful and downright depressing sometimes. Especially when our own worlds and things of light, like Christmas, are lit up in disastrous fire rather than lovely little lights on a Christmas tree.

This week, my Christmas tree has looked rather Charlie Brownish. As have I. The pity party in my head was leading me to ignore the coming of Christmas day rather than realize how deathly scared I am of Christmas this year. How deathly scared I am of the death of Christmas.

For an optimistic person, pessimism or realistic anger and sadness does not sit well. But I decided to sit for a bit. It seems like I needed to pull up a chair and have a conversation with my Charlie Brown Christmas tree and see what was going on. So, I did.

And I realized it’s not about the family gatherings, nor the ornaments or Christmas sparkle. It’s not about finding hope in a Norman Rockwell family Christmas (although I’m very happy some have that experience) or the Christmases of our childhood. It’s about losing that Christmas wonder we had as a child for a new wonder.

Reality in adulthood is hard. We so badly want to hold onto our childhood nostalgia and wonder. And it’s healthy and good to do that. But sometimes, we can’t anymore. Sometimes, we have to let go. And this year, it’s time to let go.

But it’s bringing me to a new place of excitement.

You see, wonder lost is wonder gained. Wonder gained in Christ. Christmas will no longer rely on the perfect Christmas dinner or family cheer. It won’t rely on everyone getting along or everyone even being there. Because this world isn’t perfect, and realistically, this is the case for a lot of families.

This year, the pure joy of Christmas will come from Christ’s birth — the whole reason we have this whole “Christmas” wonder in the first place. We are going back to the root of joy, the true wonder, the true hope and true joy in Christ. We are going back to the first Christmas day.

And what a miracle it was. I look forward to the next few days resting in Christ, truly experiencing and exploring advent — a season of light!

And I look forward to waking up on Christmas morning, knowing and feeling that there is more than this world, more than what Christmases past have held for me — that I may wake up and know I am loved and have hope in a God that is greater than hope itself. That I live in the grace of a God that would offer his son so I may live. And that no matter what happens this Christmas, I am loved and Jesus is born.

How does this sit with you as you look to Christmas next week?

*Photo taken Christmas 2011.