As a child, Christmas was my favorite time of the year. Homemade stockings hung by the chimney with extra-care. Daddy was in a semi-decent mood. Yummy food spread on the kitchen countertop morning, noon and night. School was out for weeks. Sometimes knee high snow fell while I slept. Plus, Christmas was Jesus’ birthday which included certain church perks like singing Christmas hymns instead of regular hymns and receiving tangerines at the end of the Christmas program.
In my young mind, there was a scary side of Christmas, too. A dark side that adults glossed over or ignored altogether. Two worrisome things in particular kept me awake at night during the most wonderful time of the year.
Number 1 Scary Christmas Thing: Jesus was born to a very young virgin mother. Although the specific details of being an unspoiled virgin versus “one of those girls” were fuzzy, I had a vague idea of what it meant.
WHAT IF THAT HAPPENED TO ME?
I wanted no part of it.
When the angel Gabriel said, fear not for behold I bring you tidings of great joy, Mary and her whole family went right along with everything. Mary was so wonderful and worthy she even sang a song about it.
If Gabriel visited me in the night, such tidings would not be well received by Thomas Tate.
Not at all.
I also believed the more I stewed on something, the more likely a self-fulfilling prophecy would occur. So I tried to focus on other things—anything other than being a pregnant virgin child like Mary. Like trying to be extra good and not pouting because Santa Claus watched my every move.
Number 2 Scary Christmas Thing. The Naughty or Nice List that controlled Christmas. I knew Santa made a list and checked it twice, but that’s all I knew about his curious list.
When did he make the list?
What were the list guidelines?
Exactly how bad did I have to be to find myself knocked off the good list and onto the bad list?
I had lots and lots of questions that no one seemed qualified to answer.
Each year, I felt certain I had NOT been good enough. All throughout Christmas Eve night, I worried that I would wake on Christmas morning to no toys, no new Barbies, no clothes even. Nothing at all. After all, I wasn’t nearly as agreeable as Mary (see Number 1 Scary Thing above).
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
Mindy Gledhill – Santa Claus is Coming to Town