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Waiting for Christmas

To keep my mind off of things, I did what I thought was the best way to lose and forget yourself even for a while. I went Christmas shopping with my sister. What with the feeling that it is just around the corner and time is ploughing its way to get there, I figured that I better get started on my shopping list to at least feel better that I have started already.

I think that there is no other season or event which troubles this heart. Christmas, with its unforgiving coming and its promised happiness, always surprises me when I am not in the least ready for it. This is not to say that I am a scrooge or anything like that; I remember years ago when Christmas was so easy and simple that it really did bring some pleasure and peace to a heart which yearns for both. Recently, it has been the opposite and the Christmas cheer fails to outshine the melancholy I feel--I even feel that its light and laughter only magnifies the sorrow and sadness that envelope me. The difficulty is with the happiness it supposedly offers and the memories it did bring in the past. They both point to an event which has to make one happy. But what if it doesn't? What if it becomes just another holiday or even just another day. I'm getting old.

Christmas is hard work. It is something to be won and is never merely received. Hence the need for advent which asks of us to prepare and wait for the coming of the King. But we busy ourselves with what is unimportant and fail to prepare ourselves for that day. That is why it catches up on me and I am never ready. It catches up on me and gives a gift I am not ready to receive. That is probably why Christmas saddens me--not because of what it gives but because of me being unworthy.

The trip to the mall was almost a disaster. When I left my sister for a while to shop on my own, I couldn't think straight and was hurrying from store to store. I saw mothers carrying their shopping bags in tow, seeming to have gone a long way on their list, and with smiles on their faces. Cheerful salesladies kept coming and coming in an unending wave and I wondered where they could be coming from and whether or not they had already made a sale. I saw empty cafes playing happy holiday tunes during the dead hour in the afternoon and I felt sick. This was not Christmas. It couldn't be. It was the wrong place to look for it.

Without carrying a shopping back and with my heart almost exploding from my chest, I went back to my sister and found her cooly looking through the racks of a store as if she was taking her sweet time. She excitedly told me that she had already bought seven gifts for her friends but had burned her credit card in doing so. From then on, she helped me shop and accompanied me in getting some work done on my list. I felt an immediate calm rush to my heart and I knew why. Blind but led by the hand of another, I glimpsed upon Christmas and the possibilities it brings.


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