(Writing this on the first Advent day, but timing it to post on Monday because I posted another piece today.)
“Advent is a season observed in many Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas.”
I don’t like Christmas. Or Easter. Or other Christian celebrations. But these two are the worst and I’d be very happy to hibernate through them – and all of the Christmas “hype” they’re starting earlier and earlier every year.
The mundane Christmas hysteria is exhausting. I get a rash from the music that’s filling every place and sticking to my brain, no matter how hard I try to ignore it. My eyes hurt from all the bling and trash they’re trying to sell from every possible hole. My brain and body are paralyzing from the pressure of “musts” and “shoulds” and “needs” the hysteria is pouring on all poor shoulders. But it’s not just that why I hate Christmas.
I think the Church is quite as guilty of pressuring people with Christmas as are the marketing forces. It’s just a little different kind of pressure.
Have you ever heard someone say: “What? You’re not going to the Christmas service? That’s not right, after all, it’s our Saviour’s birthday!” Or: “Whaaat??? It’s Good Friday/Easter day, it’s the most important holiday of Christianity! Of course you must go to the church!!!”
Yep. I think that’s sad and wrong. Me not going to those services does not mean I don’t appreciate Christ’s work. To me it does not make those holidays any less important. Those services just highlight the reason I don’t like going to church: Ritual.
Church makes me feel empty, sad and frustrated. And a failure as a Christian. It’s probably my own fault, comparing myself to other people in what may not even be true. But seeing people there, some of them almost in some kind of ecstasy, not feeling anything myself, makes me feel even more far away from God. Or listening to the horror stories and the sermon telling how Jesus was crushed because our sins and thus we should feel sooooooooooo bad – and then for days on I feel endlessly guilty because I don’t feel bad enough for my sins.
I think I’m better off not going there. Just trying to find God in my everyday. In my own way, without rituals and not the way other people do it or have done it for centuries.
But then I meet a fellow church member at the store and find out she pretty much thinks I’ve given up God totally. Or get a comment from my not-at-all-talkative hubby – saying between the lines that he thinks I’ve gone astray. Etc. It’s rough, tough and very discouraging.
I’m not attending the first advent day service or christmas service this year either. And that does not mean I love Jesus any less.