Dream House

So. One Christmas. Can’t remember how old I was. Some age below puberty. I wanted a Barbie Dream Cottage. The one with the elevator.

My mom had made a dollhouse years ago out of cardboard and leftover scraps. It was amazing! It had furniture and everything. It wasn’t very big, but the time and effort she put into it was much appreciated. We wore it out and tore it up.

But now. A few years later. I wanted a big-girl Barbie Dream Cottage. The real deal. And she got it.

She put it in her closet. In plain sight. The box was so big that you could just walk in their room and see the bright-white box gleaming from the closet shelf. Even if she would have wrapped it, I would have known what I was getting. Subtlety had been
prison-stabbed a long time ago in this family.

So. I saw it. Probably a week or more before Christmas. When I saw it, I immediately started begging my mother to let me open it early.

Please, please, please. *Heavy breathing and groaning*

I just had this deep, deep anxiety, anticipation, worry, eagerness. If I didn’t get the cottage now, I will have wasted all of this Christmas vacation play time.

Kids have several days off before Christmas. Sitting at home. Waiting for Christmas to arrive. Swallowing their excitement over and over like big gulps of air until they hyperventilate on Christmas. It’s completely and totally insane.

While adults are preparing the food, and the tree, and the food, and the presents, the food and the food, and the nog, and the food. Kids are watching TV, filling their gobs with bon-bons, hopefully running in and out of the snow and shaking presents like Polaroid pictures.

What did she expect? From me? Slobberbox McWhiny-Pants?

Please. Please. Pleeeeease.

She relinquished.

I could tell she was upset and very disappointed. Frustrated. Mad. She hated my lack of self-control in that moment. I know she did.

But she left me have it. (LOL, oh boy, did she left me have it) On one condition. No, and I mean no, help in putting it together.

Crap!

I ran to the closet. I tore that box open like a box of Twinkies. Laid out all the parts and started assembling. I looked at the instructions briefly, but intuitively knew what went where. Mostly. I got to a point where something had to be screwed.

Crap!

I knew where the screwdriver was and I ran to get it. I started screwing that Barbie cottage up. Royally.

Something went wrong and I put the wrong screw in the wrong hole or screwed it too far or something. I warped the heavy plastic on the roof and it turned a lighter shade of orange. Some parts had to be taped. Scotch tape. But I put it together.

I was mildly disappointed. But at the same time thrilled and slightly proud of myself for wrestling my mother into a rarely-achieved coup, putting together a complex gift, and to be immediately playing with my new toy before Christmas. I was the only one with a gift! Ha!

That pride and newness quickly waned. When Christmas finally arrived, I had lost any thrill and was jealous of those receiving presents and I had none to open.

Crap!

I learned a hard lesson that day. One that my mother was willing to teach me. Best to wait. Wait for help. Wait for others. Enjoy each moment, with or without a gift. Wait for joy. It’s better when you wait. Or! Joy is not in receiving a gift, joy is found in obedience, patience and self-control. Restraint is its own reward.

But I had that Barbie Dream Cottage until I was 15? I hadn’t played with it for years, but I held on to it. It was the most expensive thing I owned, to that point. Ha. Then I gave it to another little girl.

Merry Christmas.

Advertisements

Christmas

Christmas isn’t special.
Christmas is just a day.
Christ wasn’t born on the 25th
In a lighted ornamental display.

There wasn’t any tinsel.
There was not one flake of snow.
There wasn’t any cocoa.
There was no electric glow.

Mary and Joseph
And a little baby God
Sharing time and space
With travelers abroad.

No one cared who they were.
No one even knew
What on Earth was happening,
Except for a special few.

Shepherds watched.
The stars flew close.
Entertaining angels bowed
And played Heaven’s host.

No food or present can capture joy
No movie or card can free
Tomorrow you’ll find your pretty box
Is empty under the tree

The only thing empty to find
Is one important place–
The tomb in the morning with Jesus’ clothes
Replaced with amazing grace.

Light the tree and sing your songs,
I won’t begrudge your choice.
Just don’t forget the simple birth
Of your freedom to rejoice.

I don’t have a tree this year.

I don’t think I had a tree last year either. It was damaged by a burst water pipe above our storage unit. The year before that? I had half-a-tree. Just put up the top as a mini tree. So what?

I tend to reject any commercialization of Christmas. It’s not that I’m a Scrooge. Quite the opposite. We watched Disney’s A Christmas Carol last night and I was moved to tears when Ebenezer donates a very large sum to the charity collector. When he said, “I am obliged to you…bless you.” I just lost it.

To hear Scrooge say those kind words, those generous words, those humble words, I just can’t even…

I reject the commercialization of Christmas because it’s disgusting to me. I don’t shop on Black Friday. I don’t buy presents. I don’t like trees and lights and ornaments. Well, I do, but I don’t like what they have come to represent. Who doesn’t like shiny, colorful blinking lights? But I could go to Vegas on Christmas and be satisfied. I don’t think Jesus had a beautifully adorned pine tree in the manger. That’s a northern European tradition. I guess I just don’t get it. Why don’t we decorate a palm tree instead?

To say pine needles, lights, presents and all that glitters represents the spirit of Christmas or Jesus’ spirit is kind of offensive to me. Maybe I am a Scrooge to begrudge? A Bescroodger? Idk. But I can’t help throw up in my mouth a little when I see posts of trees and presents and tidings of joy espousing the love and spirit of Christmas. Sorry. And yes, I fully acknowledge this may be an attack on Christmas. It might be an attack on your very heart. Maybe I feel all the things I feel about Xmas because of my past. Okay. But. Attacking Christmas as we know it? Is that a bad thing? I mean, my biggest worry about Christmas is not what cup I am going to purchase at Starbuck’s.

What I feel deep down in my heart? I feel that we should all be walking the streets, trying to find the most in need, the loneliest, the hungriest souls on the planet who need a small bit of care. That would be the true spirit of Christmas. Not safely snug in our homes, exchanging elaborate gifts with people who need nothing. And I know, children want the magic of Christmas, the wonder of the holiday, but what are we teaching them with these empty traditions? Not what Christ was about. I can tell you that. Not the real wonder and awe of Christ.

I am recovering from surgery, so I don’t think I could wander the streets today, but honestly, I don’t know that I would have the courage or comfort to wander them at full health. But my heart wants to. I know it’s right, but I’ve never started this tradition for myself. We have moved away from gift-giving and tree-pimping. Thank God! But we haven’t made it out of the house yet. Hopefully, next year! What an amazing Christmas it would be to help people who were just like Mary and Joseph? Amazing.

This year, I am remembering the sacrifice Mary and Joseph made. And the sacrifice that Jesus made for all time. Merry Christmas to all. Not just those who can afford it. Sorry to personally ruin Xmas for anyone. I mean, have your fun and gifts and stuff. Just don’t forget others who are in need. That’s Jesus’ spirit. Tiny Tim was the smallest of all and needed the most. Don’t let Tiny Tim fall. (Shameless, I know.) God bless us, Everyone.