Dear Pastor,

Dear Pastor,
Is something wrong with me because Halloween is my favorite holiday and Christmas is my least favorite?  As a Christian, I feel like I should be stoned or shunned or take some sort of punishment for even thinking this much less saying it out loud.

The main reason I LOVE Halloween?  NO STRESS!  You buy two or three bags of candy and you’re done.  Boom.  That’s it.  Fun times.
Christmas is quite the opposite.  It should be called Stressmas instead.  Every year I say “I’m not letting Christmas get to me this year” but somewhere along the way that becomes impossible. 

Decorating comes first.  Search, unpack, put up.  Hmmm, I’ve used these same decorations for years it seems.  I need new ones.  But I need to save that money to use for gifts.  Oh well.  Maybe I’ll catch some things on sale after Christmas.  Yes, only ugly things are left for the after Christmas sales. 
My so called relaxing shopping trips become a scavenger hunt to find exactly what this person may like.  I stress over what to buy and then I stress over whether or not the recipient will even like it.  Then I spend hours wrapping those gifts.  This isn’t my favorite thing.  I’ve found myself overusing the pre-decorated gift boxes.  A couple of pieces of tape and stick on a bow and done.  Gift bags are great but they can get expensive and I have a little one that just loves to pull the tissue paper out of the bags.  Sometimes I am forced to use wrapping paper.  How many times have I cut it just a half inch too small forcing me to throw that piece away and start over?  Too many to name.  Every now and then there’s that moment when you are cutting and the scissors start smoothly sliding down the paper without any wrist/finger movement of all.  What a small, short lived victory, but yes, at least one tiny moment to celebrate.

If you like crowds you probably love Christmas.  I don’t.  I seriously don’t.  Crowds stress me out.  My road rage converts to shopping cart rage.  Why do they park them in the middle of the aisle?  Why does Walmart have forty cash registers but only open four?  Why are they always out of what I need?  Most wonderful time of the year?  I don’t think so.
I do love to cook but when I am physically and mentally tired it’s not the best time.  I host two large gatherings at my house so that means cooking and cleaning for both of those.  Somehow the cooking part takes precedence over the cleaning.  Thankfully my dear husband is tremendous help with both of those chores even though I am snapping at him because I am totally stressed out. 

Once the whirlwind of family is over then there’s clean up.  Again.  Boxes, bows and wrapping paper everywhere.  My granddaughters open one gift, throw it aside and then look for the next one.  I’m trying to teach them that there’s more to Christmas than gifts.  Much more.
And then there’s the stress of watching the checkbook balance get on down to near nothing.  I find myself counting the days until Christmas by paydays. 

I think the time of year has quite a bit to do with my loathing of Christmas also.  The long of hours of darkness seem to act like a barricade to me.  Once I get home from work and the darkness closes in I feel like I am trapped and cannot leave my house.  I become a bit of a hermit during the winter months.
On shopping, on wrapping, on cleaning and cooking.  On parties, on PARADES, ON…WHAT HAPPENED TO MY CHECKBOOKING?

It seems logical that Christmas should be a peaceful, serene yet celebratory time of year.  After all, we are celebrating the most amazing gift that has ever been given.  We should spend this time praising and worshipping the King, relaxing and enjoying family.  NOT stressing out.

So yes, even I think it’s sad that the first thing that comes to mind when I realize Christmas is approaching is…dread.  Maybe next year…next year it will be the “ONE”.  The one I can just relax and enjoy.  Just Maybe. 
So, dear pastor, am I totally messed up because I don’t like Christmas?  Does anyone else feel like I do?  Do I just need medication?  Should I be punished?  Who shall cast the first stone?

A Tired, Stressed out Child of the King