Just like the inevitable crash after a sugar high, it's time again for my annual Christmas Whiplash.
We build up to the Great Holiday with great anticipation all during the Fall, with retailers pushing ever harder to force us to start thinking about it, and buying for it, earlier and earlier. Each holiday is a stepping stone that brings us closer to the ultimate climax of the Season. We see evidence of it almost from the time that we're barely finished getting the kids back in school. Give it a few more years, and we'll be seeing Christmas decorations on Labor Day.
Then, we find ourselves reveling neck-deep in our own unique interpretation of the Significance of the Season on that special day, whether it is spiritual or not... enjoying food, family, festivities, and warmth... and then it's gone in the blink of an eye. December 26th. Christmas is gone. Over. Finished. The joyful mess has been cleaned up, presents spirited off to bedrooms, and pies still sit half-eaten on the counter.
Time to face the hum-drum reality of our normal existence again. Not much to look forward to for a long, long time. Mother Nature doesn't help. The crisp Winter chill that added delicious ambiance to the Season is now just plain cold. No wonder so many people become more depressed during January. It's Christmas Whiplash.
In the blink of an eye, the miracle of the Holy Birth and the very Christ-child Himself vanishes from view for yet another year. Or at least until Easter.
I've decided that the gift I'm giving myself this year, however, is defiance. It dawns on me that I truly need the feelings of love, warmth, and charity that I feel during the Christmas Season all throughout the year... that there's a reason I look forward to Christmas so much. Thomas S. Monson said that he felt that "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens was inspired... particularly its message admonishing us to "keep Christmas in our hearts, all year long."
So this coming year, during the long, cold months of the dreaded First Quarter and beyond, when my thoughts are attuned to everything but Christmas, I'm think I'm going to go out of my way to find something... no matter how small... that I can do each day to keep Scrooge smiling and that special warmth alive. I need that in my life. And if I do a good enough job at that, maybe... just maybe... I'll survive the next three months without going ape-nuts insane.