This is a slightly modified transcript of my Living with Mary Podcast episode “It’s Christmas All the Time!” Listen to the episode here:
I don’t really celebrate Christmas. I am not opposed to it or anything. It simply doesn’t loom very large in my life. When I remember it, I greet people with Merry Christmas on Christmas Day and I am happy when people wish me Merry Christmas. In general, I am of course aware that the Christmas season is here, it’s sort of hard not to be. But I feel no special desire to celebrate it myself. Sometimes this worries me. Is there something wrong with me, you know?
I don’t have some terrible childhood story about Christmas that made me hate it. I don’t hate it at all. It’s just that its importance in my life on a scale of 0 to 10 would be, well, zero. How come?
Sweet Childhood Memories
I enjoyed Christmas when I was a kid. We decorated the Christmas tree, listened and sometimes sang along to Christmas carols coming from the radio. There were presents. Jesus was mentioned. We went to my grandma’s and ate delicious food she prepared: Christmas evening for light dinner and Christmas day for an abundant lunch. We celebrated something: life, tradition, family, togetherness…
I remember one Christmas eve coming back from grandma after dinner, our green VW beetle just stopped in the middle of the road. The street was empty. My dad commandeered us – my mom, sister, and me to help push the car. It was cold and slippery, but we didn’t really need to push with any sort of strength – my dad put the car in neutral and leaned in through the driver’s door, holding the wheel and doing all the necessary pushing. The three of us pushed the rear of the car, laughing. It was exhilarating and unexpected, this adventure in the dark, empty, Christmas eve street. I still feel giddy thinking about it.
Upon coming home from grandma’s, we didn’t have to wait to open the presents. We could open them before going to bed. Presents were simple things we needed, and we mostly knew what we were going to get. Still, we were excited. There is something about opening a present, even if it contains a pair of socks, one needs and knows she is getting that’s a super thrilling thing to do!
As we all got older and my grandma couldn’t host us anymore, things sort of fizzled out. I don’t even remember how, but Christmas faded out of my life. It wasn’t sad or anything, it just wasn’t important anymore.
And I guess that’s one part of the story. An answer to how come celebrating Christmas isn’t important to me. When I look at it from that perspective, it’s simple, really, like most life’s answers. If it’s not important, it’s not important. Period.
A Little Later…
As an adult living in the States, I tried getting into Christmas being important to me a few times, but it didn’t feel like me. I disliked cutting trees. The plastic ones seemed ridiculous and also not environmentally friendly. Christmas felt like something people did, so perhaps I should too. But honestly, I just didn’t care at all. My husband was the same. So, we put up lights because they looked pretty, especially during the dark time of the year in Alaska. And we visited friends and hung out. I liked that.
When we (my husband, me, and our young son) returned to Croatia, we spent several Christmases with my husband’s family. And they were super fun. His family is a big Dalmatian (Mediterranean) family and they love to celebrate – anything, any time. I do too. Christmas is a chance for the family to come together. And I totally dig that. I also dig going because I want to go and not because I have to go. And so, there were years when we simply chose not to go. Instead, we went skiing.
My parents are also relaxed about the whole thing and we live close by, so sometimes we do something together around Christmas. Like this year, my dad has invited us over for a sort of a Christmas lunch, but it doesn’t matter on which day it is. What matters is that we are together.
I like that too.
How Christmas Is All the Time
And now I think I am coming closer to the crux of the matter. Like many before me musing on the Spirit of Christmas, I too do get misty-eyed at this togetherness, the celebration of life, family. And I can be a sucker for tradition too, albeit one that is soulful rather than oppressive. I am aware that these are the very things I feel we celebrated when I was a kid. And when I ask myself a question: why haven’t I re-created or upheld this throughout my life? The answer is that I have. Not through celebrating Christmas on the 25th of December, but through living my life in this way: celebrating it, cherishing my family, and being together making that a priority in my life every day of my life. Christmas carols? Yes! They come to my head throughout the year and I sing them! Family meals? Yes! We love to come together and share meals and celebrate being alive and in each other’s lives. Simple presents as acts of love and kindness to one another? Yes! Any time!
Any time of the year!!!
Last few years, since I have let Mary into my life, there is something else too.
When I pray my rosary (btw, something unlike Christmas that I actually thoroughly disliked, and now do every day – a story of how this happened, I will leave for another time), I often see Mary with her round belly (oh, that rhymes), expecting baby Jesus. I see the golden light of the Christ consciousness and I rejoice. Oh, how I rejoice!
And that’s kind of the point for me – I celebrate Mary and her giving birth to Jesus on Earth any day I wish! So, it’s not that I don’t celebrate Christmas, it’s really that I celebrate it all the time!
Love, What Else?
I am grateful to Mary for giving birth to Jesus – the Christ consciousness in human form. Their love is in all our hearts and that consciousness is one I dream about, one that I strive to bring into my life, not only to feel it when I channel Mary, meditate or pray but when I live, knowing that I am human and to have compassion for myself when I am perhaps not as loving or conscious as I’d like to be – because that compassion Mary has taught me is an important part of love!
So, no, there is nothing wrong with me…
In general, Mary doesn’t care if we celebrate Christmas or not and if we do how we do it. She doesn’t care which religion we belong to or if we are not religious or spiritual. What She cares about is love and our growth towards more love. This is especially pertinent to how we make our decisions. She has taught me to help myself make decisions in my life based on this one criterion:
Is my decision coming out of love or not?
My husband and our teenage son are going skiing this Christmas. It was my idea. I will stay home with our aging dog and our new rambunctious lab, and the two of them will have their father-son ski trip. It all works. I am happy for them and I am happy for me. It’s what feels good for this year. It’s not the togetherness that necessarily springs to mind when we say being together, but to me this is love and, in this love, in this mutual support and respect we are together.
Celebrating Christmas Together & By Ourselves
Still, there is, of course, something very special in the energy of many people celebrating the coming of Christ, the Light of the World at the same time. It is very powerful and touching. There is a rising of hope, compassion, goodwill, even unity, and this brings tears to my eyes.
I also appreciate that it is special to have a day to reminisce about the day Mary gave birth to Jesus, even if it’s not exactly the day it happened (time anyway is quite malleable). This year, I may take some time on Christmas to go inward to feel this more strongly within myself.
Or I may not. I may do something else instead. Like, go into the forest, or paint a picture of an elephant. I don’t know. But what I do know is that I will pray my rosary on that and every other day, that I will honor her for who she is to me, and that I will continue to thank her for giving birth to Jesus, and all that she has and continues to do for all of us in her infinite, tireless, unconditional LOVE.
Mary’s Love for All of Us
I do send you Mary’s Love. Feel it. It is immense, and it is there for all of us, any time, any place. And the same way She loves Jesus, She loves all of us. Can you believe it? Yes, sometimes it is hard to believe it. But it is true. I feel it and I know in every fiber of my being that it is true.
When you think of Mary holding baby Jesus so lovingly, think of Her holding you. That is Her message.
With Love & Respect,