‘Tis the season of sparkling ornaments, twinkling lights, brightly wrapped presents, and other festive joys too numerous to mention.
I’ve got my Starbucks hot chocolate, Christmas carols on the car radio, cookies baking in the oven, and nightly Christmas classics on TV.
What’s not to like?
Well…besides the traffic. And the shopping. And the shipping. And the fruitcake.
Oh and the ugly sweaters. There is that.
The tackier the better and deliberately kitschy-
but all in good fun, if not in good taste.
And since we’re on the subject of bad taste,
who could forget the old white elephant gift exchange?
Always good for a belly laugh or two.
And speaking of belly laughs…I recently received a gift that while not a white elephant,
certainly turned out to be the elephant in the room.
It started off well. Square shirt box, jolly paper.
I tore open the wrap and gave the box a quick shake.
No rattles, only the crackle of tissue paper. Hmmm…something soft then.
I lifted the lid and folded back the paper.
The boxes content took my breath away. Literally.
(Like the gals in those jewelry commercials at Christmas…well sort of…)
“What is it? What did you get?”
Too stunned to speak, I lifted the garment out of the box.
I looked at the faces of my daughters to see if I was on point or overreacting.
Deer in the headlights is the only caption that comes to mind.
It was jaw-droppingly unattractive. Hideous even.
The color was known to be NOT my favorite, and certainly not flattering to me.
Not to mention the style. Woof!
Maybe for a granny. Wait! I am a granny! Oh lordy.
Luckily, the sender of the gift was out of state so couldn’t witness the state I was in. Literally.
It took a polite minute or two before the laughter broke out. And the tears. From the laughter. (I’m not so shallow that I’d cry over a gift-but it was close!)
Chants of “try it on! try it on!” filled the room.
I shuffled off to my room so I could preview before humiliating myself in front of everyone.
It was even worse on-if that’s possible. I looked like a bag of doorknobs.
I twirled in front of the mirror. No improvement.
Ugh. As in Ug-ly. It could win an ugly sweater contest for sure.
Only it wasn’t supposed to be an ugly sweater.
Someone had actually gone to a store with ME in mind and picked out this monstrosity.
I was not feeling flattered at this point.
The nice side of me didn’t want to be ungrateful, but the naughty side of me was winning.
Luckily Santa had already come so it was too late for coal.
(Although that would be handy for the bonfire I planned on having later…
when I torched this highly flammable fabric.)
After I had dawdled as long as I dared,
I put on my big girl panties and went out to face the music.
I entered the room and you could have heard a pin drop.
Eyes glazed over, and not just from the sugar-high.
My sweet toddler grandson was the first to break the silence…
“Wow, Maw Maw-Wow!”
His chubby little hand rubbed the fabric as he gazed at me
in just the same way I gaze at a panful of holiday fudge!
Everybody did laugh out loud then-but thankfully not at me.
There were smiles all round for this sweet boy and his pure and sincere adoration for the abominable snow-sweater and his ungrateful granny.
So it’s true what they say then…
Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.
As a little boy taught me,
beholding is more than just looking at something.
To behold is to really see something-
not just with your eyes,
but with your whole heart.
This Christmas I plan on looking less and beholding more.
Luke 2:10-15 ….For behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.