I don't know what Christmas is like in your house, but in my house every major family crisis coincides with a holiday. Coincidence? I think not.
It's not that we don't love each other. It's not that we don't understand the reason for the season. We love Jesus, we love each other, we love Christmas. It's just that any time you get my entire family under one roof....well...we generally just annoy the crap out of each other. Here let me set the scene for you.
It's Christmas Eve, like midday. We don't have the Christmas Eve Service until six, so we're all just hanging around the house, waiting, and watching the A Christmas Story marathon. My little sister is hiding in her room. I'm sitting on the couch, as is my brother-in-law. My older sister is in my bedroom changing my youngest niece's diaper. My mom is cooking. My dad is absent (at work, as usual at Christmas time) and we're all more than a little thankful that my brother didn't show up. Ok....you've got the scene. Now action.
Brother-in-Law: It's over, finally. [leans over to grab the remote]
Me: Um...what are you doing?
Brother-in-Law: Changing the channel. What do you think I"m doing? We already watched it, and its coming on again.
Me: That's sort of the point.
Brother-in-Law: Whatever. [changes the channel to ESPN]
Me: WHAT? Ok. If you're going to change the channel from A Christmas Story, fine, I get it. But it's Christmas Eve. Sports, really?
Brother-in-Law: Look, you're not the only person in the house.
Me: But its MY house.
Mom: [in warning tone] Mandy
Me: Whatever. [Want to retreat to my room but can't because I'm sleeping on the couch in favor of my brother-in-law and older sister. So I move to the piano and start to play Christmas songs to relieve my boredom]
Older sister: [coming into the room] Mandy, stop playing the piano. You're giving me a headache.
Me: Ok. [leave room and go to my little sister's bedroom.]
Little sister: Leave me alone.
Me: Just reading a book. [Sit down on the floor and start reading a book]
[five minutes pass, door opens and Mom appears]
Mom: What are you doing? Be with the family. Christmas is about family.
[Little sister glares at me because my coming to her room is what prompted Mom to come. We both get up and go to the main room. Little sister sits on the couch but is still on her computer. I read my book]
Older sister: I don't know why I bother to even come if you guys are just going to ignore us while we're here.
Little sister: I have work to do.
[I stay silent. Better to be silent than say something that will get me into trouble. Brother-in-law continues to ignore everyone by watching ESPN]
Eventually someone will say something, a fight will commence, and someone will end up in trouble. Probably me.
Christmas. I love it. I love everything it represents. But...I'm not going home until the 23rd. For good reason. I hate getting in trouble. I hate getting yelled at. And the longer I'm home, the greater the probability I will get in trouble.
Christmas was so much easier when we were kids. Now the youngest of us is 21 (discounting the nieces and nephew).
But I'll survive and there will be parts that will be fantastically awesome and loving. It's really a shame that the rest of Christmas is so war like.
Am I the only one who thinks Christmas can be like a warzone?