This is, perhaps, retro of me to admit, but I'll come out with it anyway: I love Christmas. I love Christmas decorations, I love Christmas food, I love Christmas shopping, I'm even rather fond of Christmas music. This time of year has become cause for complaint for a lot of people, but I love it more all the time.
I am not a Christian. Christmas has no deeper religious significance for me. I've gone to church on Christmas enough times to know the whole Christmas story, but, to me, it's just a story. Christmas is about something else. It's about spending time with my family, even though for the last several years I've had to travel a considerable distance to do that. It's about baking, and taking long leisurely meals together. It's about it being cold outside, and even snowing (well, when we're in Minnesota for Christmas, anyway, not so much in Oregon). It's about ending the old year on a festive note.
And it's about presents. It's very fashionable to decry the consumerism of Christmas, and I understand why--it has gotten ridiculous. But I think it's important not to throw the baby out with the bath water. Giving and receiving gifts happens for a reason, in nearly any culture. Gift giving is a fantastic tradition to have, when it can be practiced in a good way. If giving Christmas gifts can be about something more than obligation, which, for me, it largely is, then it becomes a beautiful thing. It becomes an excuse to focus on each individual member of your gift-receiving community (family, friends, charitable gifts, whatever) and think about what s/he would really like. What would make his/her face light up to unwrap? How can focusing on that be a bad thing?
So this Love Thursday I am admitting it. I love Christmas. I hope you do, too.