I had a conversation with my dad and a couple of my uncles the other day where I mentioned that if you typed in all caps, it was considered shouting. This was news to them, and I don’t think they buy it. One of my uncles said “If you send me an email in all caps, I would think that you were helping me out and making it easier to read.”
I have seen some folks online on message boards berating someone for “shouting at everyone” only to find out that the person was handicapped and used all caps because it was easier for them to type that way. Made me think to myself “Be careful of what you get on your high horse about.”
We think everyone is like us. If Christmases past hold good memories for us, we think Christmas holds good memories for all. If we look forward to the day, we think everyone looks forward to the day. If we are excited about the gifts we buy and are having a blast shopping for them, we think everyone has the same feeling.
Truth is, we’re quite insensitive and self-absorbed.
So here is a list of things that some folks I know are dealing with this Christmas….
🎁 Some folks have lost loved ones this year to death and are dreading their first holiday without them. Some lost them years ago, but still have not gotten over the pain of having them gone at holidays.
🎁 Some have had their holidays disrupted by divorce, and miss having their spouse (even if they didn’t like them much). They are having to share their kids for the holidays in a way they never planned. The kids? They may feel guilt they don’t speak, especially when the parent makes it more difficult for them.
🎁 Some people have been diagnosed with a nasty disease and are wondering if perhaps this will be their last Christmas on earth with their loved ones. Their families are wondering if it will be the last one they will celebrate with them and their hearts are breaking.
🎁 Some folks are out of a job and uncertain what they will do if one does not show itself on the horizon.
🎁 Some people don’t have a loving family and are facing the tension of spending even a few hours with folks related to them by blood, who they feel obligated to spend time with, but who always make them feel miserable. Their day will be spent dodging insults, avoiding cruel criticism, and trying to not retaliate when they feel like they are going over the edge.
🎁 Some folks are already in debt higher than they ever thought possible, but they have kids who expect the same Christmas presents as their friends get from Santa. They’re worried about things like whether their power will be on come Christmas morning or whether they will have money for groceries.
🎁 Some are buying gifts for unappreciative people, knowing that whatever they buy, it will not be “right.”
🎁 Some have told people they really don’t want gifts, but are bought gifts anyway. They struggle being gracious receiving things they don’t need, or want, that are bought out of an obligation and has nothing to do with them.
🎁 Some folks are alone, or just feeling alone even if they are in a crowd.
🎁 Some people have needs they will not speak. They keep them to themselves, and are miserable because they are not being met. (If this is you, tell people!)
🎁 Some people don’t see gift giving as you do. Some want practical gifts, while you want the impractical. Some want impractical luxury, while you have always given what they need. Some want gifts, but you say “I don’t do gifts.” Some say “I don’t want gifts” but don’t mean it. others really do. For some the only gift they want is your time and attention. Truth is, if you love someone, you probably should try to do what works for them. But then again, if you have expectations, give them the gift of giving those up. Meet people where they are. What they can do now. They may be paralyzed with fear underneath that “I don’t care” veneer. Maybe you need to give yourself the perfect gift and remove the pressure from them. Maybe you need to get over your gift obsession and celebrate other things. Wherever you are, maybe the best gift you can give everyone is to change your mindset.
🎁 Some people don’t celebrate Christmas. Their religion may be different, or it could be something else. Truth is, it is celebrating Christmas is not mandatory. Even for Christians.
I hope Christmas Day, however you spend it, finds you in a lovely place of peace, love and contentment. If you’re not there, I pray that you will make your needs known, to those who care about you or even to a stranger. Locking it inside changes nothing and makes you miserable. But is it a need or a want? Are you expecting others to make you happy or are you looking for ways to be joyful in your day in spite of all? And for those of you who have nothing but love for the season, don’t be so self-absorbed you don’t see those around you in pain.
When people shout “MERRY CHRISTMAS!” or “HAPPY HOLIDAYS!”, may it not sound like a loud and angry shouting to your ears, but instead like the balm of someone who is trying to make it easier for you to celebrate life. I wish you joy that comes from deep in your soul, and has nothing to do with circumstances or other people, every single day of the year.