I’m a little late to the party I suppose, but I’ve taken a little time out over this festive season and have come to two conclusions about what Christmas is for me.
1. Christmas is about sharing
The Sainsburys ad may have received a lot of criticism for supposedly commercialising war, but for me, it represented two things. Firstly, it made me super proud of my heritage, a perfect mix of German and English, beautifully summed up in the blending of the German and English voices singing Stille Nacht/Silent Night across the trenches.
Secondly it reminded me that Christmas really is for sharing. Without the people I love around me, Christmas simply isn’t Christmas at all. As my husband said at one of our Church Christmas services, it is a cliché, but Christmas really is about peace and love, or ‘Shalom’ as I prefer.
Christmas should be about wholeness and without those I love, I am not complete. This Christmas, I have been fortunate enough to see a lot of the people who I hold uppermost in my heart. I have received a few really thoughtful presents but it really hasn’t been about gifts this year, or even food. It has been about sharing whatever I am doing, with those I love. Be that a weekend in Germany with my Oma, Christmas Day with our elderly neighbour and my brother-in-law or post-Boxing Day with my parents and sister. That is Christmas for me.
2. Christmas is about waiting
It’s in the name really: Advent. This is the first year I have worked until Christmas Eve and it has meant that I haven’t felt able to relax fully until the final hour. My mum was telling us how, as a child, her parents didn’t put the tree up until Heiligabend (Christmas Eve) and when her father brought it home, the children weren’t allowed back into the lounge until it was up, decorated and keeping watch over their presents. It was worth waiting for and meant that Christmas had finally arrived.
I think next year I will phase my Christmas activities, leaving the tree until a little later rather than the very first weekend of December. I can enjoy other things – movies, festive coffee flavours, more time with friends and family – in anticipation that the best is yet to come.