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This is the home stretch.

It’s the time of year when all your feelings get jumbled together and you really don’t know what to feel except nervous, excited and oh I don’t know, maybe even thrilled.

You know you want to get a lot of good stuff for Christmas, but you also know that you shouldn’t feel too excited about just getting instead of giving…you know you want to give something to people you love or people you want to impress or people you know are probably going to give you something back, but you also know that there’s something vaguely sinful-feeling about just wanting to give for the sake of what you’re going to be given.

You read all those stories about Christmastime charity and how nice it is to give of yourself and your time and even of your money to those who won’t ever be able to repay you, but you also would like to get a bunch of nice things that remind you of the best Christmases you ever had.

You always want people to kind of read your mind and give you just the perfect gift that takes you back to your best years, but you don’t even know how to express this to them and so you just go on feeling like the best part of Christmas is the anticipation, the wanting part…not the actual getting and giving part.

You may even remember the few times in your life that you secretly gave something to someone who needed it and never ever let them know that it was you who did it. You remember the mixed feelings you had about that—how you knew it was blessed to give anonymously, but also how you wished you knew for sure that you were going to get credit for the deed in some celestial Big Book in the Sky.

You also know that you will never know for certain whether you’ll get credit for deeds like that, and it’s that special tension created out of this confusion that makes you much more alert and wired at this time of year.

And best of all, you also know deep deep down inside you that the best Christmases you’ve ever had or ever will have are those Christmases that exist in your memories and in your future hopes.

As the Grinch learned almost too late, Christmas happens whether or not there’s lots of getting and receiving and gimme-ing.

I hope this helps you know that there are others who are ambivalent about Christmas and about the spirit of giving and getting.

And know this, too: the best part of you is the part that is willing to admit ambivalence and is willing to struggle to walk the tightrope that carefully and precariously balances you between total selfishness and total martyrdom. You just happen to be human


 © 2017 A.D. by Jim Reed




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