Christmas for One

Remember the reason for the season.

This Christmas I’m alone and single.
Sleigh bells ring with a hollow jingle.
The bells, you see, aren’t quite as fun
When they ring-ding-jingle just for one.

There’s snow outside, but it just feels cold
As winter, already, seems so old.
For snow, you see, isn’t quite as fun
When it’s gentle falling is just for one.

On the radio familiar music plays
Of loved ones, home, and holidays.
But music, you see, isn’t quite as fun
When the happy melodies are just for one.

Out of the oven comes a gingerbread smell;
Though, alone, it seems a little bit stale.
For baking, you see, isn’t quite as fun
When the delicious aroma is just for one.

The house is ablaze with brilliant light,
Yet the colors don’t sparkle quite as bright.
For lights, you see, aren’t quite as fun
When they dance and twinkle just for one.

I put out a stocking and set up a tree,
Then sit on the couch with peppermint tea.
But trappings, you see, aren’t quite as fun
When they’re all put up just for one.

Then under the tree and off of a shelf,
I wrap up the gift I bought for myself.
But gifts, you see, aren’t quite as fun
When the joy they bring is just for one.

And last, but not least, the manger with hay—
A poor, humble bed where a baby will lay.
And I start to think how it’s not much fun
To celebrate at all when it’s just for one.

When into my heart with a wake-up shout,
I remember what Christmas is really about!
Christ came to die, though it sure wasn’t fun;
But He did it for me—me even one.

It is late.  I should be in bed.  But I am not.  I am sitting on the couch, alone, in a darkened living room.  From the corner of the room comes the light of a Christmas tree.  I am thinking.

I love Christmas time.  I love the decorations, the lights, the music.  I love the gift giving, the more loving thoughts, the family time.  I love the gently falling snow, excitement in the air, and, yes, I even love that Christmas fruitcake! 

And yet, Christmas is not what it used to be.  When I was little, it seemed like the month of December would never come.  When it finally did, it seemed like it lasted a whole year long.  We had an Advent calendar and never did days pass so slowly.  Christmas Eve itself was an eternity.  The rule was we could not get up Christmas morning until 6:30am.  I know, I had such mean parents!  I would wake up many times during the night and shine a flashlight on a clock to see how many hours were left.

Then I grew up.  Last year I slept just fine on Christmas Eve and only woke up early to talk to my brother on a mission on the other side of the world.  I live alone and apart from the few decorations I have around the house, it doesn’t really feel like Christmas.  In a couple weeks it will all be over.  I think to myself, why do I even bother to put out the decorations when there is no one to enjoy them but me?  Why set up a tree and struggle with the tangled lights?  I think of the gift under the tree; I know what it is because I bought it and put it there myself.  In a moment of melancholy, I think, what is the point?

And then I remember.

Christmas is about Christ after all.  It is His birth and life we are celebrating.  At the end of the day, it is not about gingerbread, trees, lights, or gifts.  It is about Him and what He has done for me.  Trappings are good—as long as they don’t become entrapments.  They should ultimately remind us of the real reason for the season.  If we get so wrapped up in the peripheral that we miss the central theme, then we better stop with the wrapping altogether and reevaluate.  And reevaluate I do. 

Yes, it is late.  I should be in bed.  But I am not.  I am sitting on the couch, alone, in a darkened living room.  I am thinking.  In the quiet stillness, the soft light from the Christmas tree reminds me of another night long ago, a night that was illuminated by a new star.  A night that changed the world.  And I am thankful, again, for His life and love. 

So, I say, shine on little Christmas tree, shine on. . . .  And I sit for a moment longer.

Written: December 9, 2017

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