A Grateful Humbug

While our minister, Rev. Michael Leuchtenberger, is on sabbatical, we will fill our Musings space with insights from our members.

By Barbara Keshen

If I had thought about it at the time, I probably would not have agreed to write Musings in the middle of December. Truth be told, even in the best of times, the “holiday season” (a euphemism for Christmas) doesn’t do much for me. Too much hustle and bustle. Too many activities. Too much food and drink. Too expensive. Way too many expectations. It’s a lot to heap on the birth of one little baby.

This year is even a little harder. I have a very small family, and I am acutely aware that my little family is experiencing some painful health and financial crises. I really don’t want them to go the expense of buying us gifts. God knows there is nothing that I need. But how do I say that without insulting or humiliating them or just plain hurting their feelings. Giving actually is a joy. Why should I deprive them of it?

I have a feeling I am not the only one struggling with conflicted feelings about the holidays. Here is how I am handling it. Very simply, I am trying to remain of good cheer and not spread negativity. I try to focus on the privilege and joy of giving. I particularly like giving and receiving home made gifts. I love (some of) the music that we only hear this time of year. I especially like the music that our choir chooses for its Christmas Eve service. I love singing in the choir. I look forward to Christmas Eve service, where time seems to stand still. I am grateful for the message of peace and good will. It’s one I need to hear.

I try to engage in activities that fill me up rather than those that deplete me. I am grateful for the church for providing so many of those activities: the giving tree, singing for the homeless and, for the first time ever, agreeing to serve as a wrapper for the Boys and Girls club shopping spree. Thank you, Peg H. for the friendly nudge.

I try to keep in mind that not everyone is filled with the holiday spirit. Some people may appear happy, but underneath are worried, or sick, or anxious. I try to be just a little kinder to everyone I have contact with.

I have a feeling I sound like a spoiled brat. That’s probably because I am a spoiled brat. I have warm clothes and a warm house; I feel safe and loved at home; my belly is almost always full. So I guess the truth is this: Bah humbug, I am grateful.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.