Anyone who has known me for awhile knows that Christmas has been a difficult time for me for the last 12 years. For those who don’t know, my ex-wife chose Christmas Day as the time to tell me she wanted a divorce. For too long, I couldn’t deal with what should be a joyous season. I avoided my favorite Christmas movies, family get togethers, friends, decorations, and anything else that reminded me of losing my family. I would drink myself into a blackout stupor on Christmas Eve and stay holed up completely alone throughout Christmas Day.
I’m writing this post for anyone out there who struggles with this time of year. You are not alone, even if it feels like you are. You are not defeated, even if it seems like everything is against you. Healing is possible. As long as you still draw breath, you can lift yourself up from the lowest depths of despair.
Healing begins with forgiveness. You absolutely must forgive the people who hurt you, not because they deserve it but because you do. Forgiveness removes the weight from yourself. It frees you from the poison of bitterness and allows you to move forward.
Today, I’m in a much better place with the holidays. I have watched all of my favorite movies over the last couple of years. I don’t become consumed by the sense of impending doom. I’m slowly beginning to enjoy the spirit of the holidays again. If I can heal from that wound, anyone can find the strength to heal from theirs.
If you need a helping hand through this time of year, comment on this post, and I promise I will respond. I might only be able to offer a few kind words, but I will make certain you know that you are not alone.
Thank you to everyone who took time to read and share my previous post, and a huge thank you to those who purchased copies of my books in support. We have managed to raise a little money, but more importantly, due to the awareness, a handful of you made direct donations that will allow this family to have a decent Christmas. I’m grateful for your kindness and generosity. If you are one of the people who shared the post, bought a book, or made a donation, thank you for saving Christmas for these children. That’s what the spirit of this season is supposed to be about.
I don’t expect most people to understand this, but Christmas just isn’t the same for me anymore. In part, that’s because of what my ex-wife did to me on Christmas morning, but there’s more to it than that. Of course, I miss my children more this time of year than any other, and maybe if they were with me, I’d feel differently, but I just feel like the spirit of the season has become distorted and perverted into something profane. While I don’t consider myself a Christian, I always loved the idea of peace on earth and goodwill to all.
But that’s not the reality of Christmas in this country today. Now, it’s about celebrating how much money you can spend and how many good deals you can find. Peace on earth has been replaced by competitive shopping, and goodwill has been replaced by tension over long lines and parking spaces. The whole charade played out in the name of holiness sickens me. The yearly garbage from Fox News about the war on Christmas would be laughable if it weren’t so misplaced.
The real war on Christmas is waged when families compete over how much lighting they can install, which by the way is a holdover of a pagan tradition to ward away evil spirits during the winter solstice. The real war on Christmas is waged when TV commercials mock Santa Claus to demonstrate how good their deals are. Those are the things that undermine the spirit of giving and distort it into a materialistic competition that has no connection to the story of Christ, whose message was to give to the needy, shepherd the lost, heal the sick, and turn the other cheek. The real war on Christmas is waged every time someone values the material object over the spirit of charity.
If you want to know where we’ve lost our way in this nation, look no further than that. The message of Christ, one of love and compassion, has been distorted into hate and competition for political and economic advantage. I know I’m not the first to point out this perversion, and I know I won’t be the last, but if I can send one message to my country this Christmas it would be to look closely at the teachings of Jesus Christ, not as told by the modern church, but as told by His disciples. The road to happiness is through love and charity, not through 50% sales, cascade lighting, and an empty ceremonial exchanging of nonessential gifts. Peace will come with tranquility and splendor.