A Very Minimalist Christmas

A Very Minimalist Christmas

By Jodi Decker

                This year we had a “minimalist” Christmas.  No, it’s not a case of Christmas blues, and I’m not a Grinch or a Scrooge.  It’s a case of the “busy blahs.”  I was too busy to decorate.  I was too blah, because with adult kids,  they only want gift cards, so that thankfully eliminates the mall pinball run.  I’m “pre” grandkids, so I’m not yet into the toy spoiling stage, either. 

                Oh, we’ve had our “extravagant” Christmas years.  Years ago, family members offered us a free week at their timeshare, and we got to leave  the kids with my parents and fly to Hawaii!  How I remember that Christmas morning…sunrise on the top of a volcano! 

But I do remember two other times we had very minimalist Christmases.  The first time was when my son was born on December 21st.  Because he had jaundice, he stayed under the bilirubin lights through Christmas day.  I ran back and forth to the hospital to visit and nurse, and I remember a lot of post-natal hormonal crying on my part from all the stress.  Then, the second time Christmas got “cancelled” was a few years ago when my mom was terminal.  That year, our minimalist Christmas consisted of an undecorated Christmas tree, a cursory exchange of gifts, and eating pizza at my son’s place.  There was running back and forth between the hospital, my parents’ house, and my house.  It was difficult to reconcile the smiling, happy faces in the mall that year, when I walked around  zombie-like, knowing it would be the last Christmas with my mom.  I wondered if any of those other people were experiencing this…was I the only one?  I felt so alone.

                I tell these two stories because, ironically, these two minimalist Christmases were my most memorable.  They were memorable in terms of the most joyful one, giving birth to my first child, and my most heartbreaking, knowing I would soon lose a loved one.  It caused me to reflect, though, on the Jesus’ birth.   Jesus came into this world in the ultimate minimalist way.  It was simple.  It was basic.  It was joyful.  And, it was memorable.  Although there were baby gifts, there was no baking, no shopping, no decorating, and best of all…no credit card debt! 

                Maybe your Christmas this year was crowded with extra special joy….the birth of a child or grandchild.  Someone returned on military leave.  You got an unexpected Christmas bonus or surprise.  Family was reunited for the first time in years.  Maybe you had a memorable Christmas for different reasons, because it was so difficult.  There was added financial stress, a family rift, a health crisis, a sudden loss of a family member.  We know that life will bring us the Christmas highs and lows. 

                Either way…we can reflect on the most minimalist, but profound Christmas of all time:  a baby.  A manger.  Came to save the world.  That’s it.  And yet, it’s so much more. 

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