Chaos to Carols

Night Sky on the Swake
Black Friday has come and gone, Christmas decorations are in the stores, the house on the swake is sporting a pretty tree all alight.  What could possibly be amiss?  Last week I was excited about Christmas; anxious for it to arrive, eager to put up the decorations.  But it is as though the act of assembling the tree has triggered a round of chaotic nonsense that has dogged me day and night this week.

The chaos involves a partially decorated tree and nightmares.  The tree has stood in the middle of the room all week with the remainder of the ornaments and ribbons scoffing at it from their boxes which are also piled in the middle of the room.  In over thirty years of putting up a Christmas tree, we have never experienced a prolonged attempt like this one.  Usually the boxes are carried up from storage, unpacked quite efficiently, the decorations placed, the boxes returned to storage, all with nearly military precision.  But not this year.

You need to know that the Christmas lights have not been turned on once since the tree was put up a week ago.  That's really uncharacteristic of our house.  Usually, the lights go on every morning to cheer up the darkness that we wake up to at this time of year.  After work they go on again.  But not this year.

Then there are the dreams, actually they are nightmares.  Almost every night I have had some goofy dream about Christmas that leaves me waking up on the wrong side of the bed emotionally.  My Christmas nightmares run the gamut from being the only person who arrives without a gift to bringing a gift that someone despises.  As you can well imagine the mood on the swake has progressed rapidly downhill with every passing day this week.  Last night, my patient husband suggested that we put on some Christmas carols.  Even that suggestion failed to trigger an upswing in the funky mood.  In fact, as some of you are suspecting it aggravated the situation.

I think many people have a love hate relationship with Christmas.  We love the wonder of God's promise that it represents, the beauty of trees lit up, and the gift of extra holy days to spend with those we love.  It gets a little weird when we lose our way, concentrating on artificial expectations and worrying about meeting those expectations.  I figured I might be in trouble already when we put the tree up and my first reaction was "it's too small".  Technically it is, if you are worried about how the tree looks in the room and impressing the heck out of the neighbors.  I lost my way this week.  I was on that path heading the wrong direction away from the carols of hope toward the chaos of my inadequacies.  They can be like a siren's song, luring you toward discontent and uncertainty.

After wallowing for a week I decided this morning it is time to get pissed off, so I turned the Christmas tree lights on and decided to face the chaos head first.  I may well fail someone this Christmas by not sending a card, or by choosing a present they don't care for.  Oh well....  I'm going to concentrate my energy and resources on giving to those in need.  Warning - if you are expecting a gift from me you probably are not going to get one.  My mission this year is to replace the chaos with the hope of carols, to capture the wonder and joy of Christmas.  Christ came to us in our need, and I'm looking forward to traveling the Advent path with you to celebrate Christ's coming.  Damn the chaos, turn on the lights, break out the carols.