OK, I’ve had it. In the last three days I’ve been to a Women’s Christmas luncheon, a church fellowship lunch, the meeting of my accountability group, a big family Christmas party, dinner with some friends and a visiting missionary couple, followed by a presentation about their ministry in Brazil which was hosted at our congregation and included (because after all we’re Lutherans) snacks and coffee. This is way too much social interaction for the average introvert. I’m exhausted. Is this what being “merry” is all about?
These days “Merry Christmas” evokes images of parties and gift exchanges, games and singing, eating and drinking. Do you know that originally “merry” had a very different connotation? In earlier times, merry meant contented, peaceful, glad — as in God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen (if you think the gentlemen were merry, you’re ignoring the comma or placing it incorrectly). This well known carol is about taking comfort in knowing that the birth of Christ released us from the bondage of sin and saved us from the punishment we deserved. We could rest (remain) merry (happy and satisfied) in our new status as saved children of God. How great is that? Isn’t it more meaningful than all the parties and presents in the world?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not Scrooge. I love my church and my family. I enjoy good fellowship with friends. Food and fun? I’m all for that in moderation. I’m just asking, as an introvert, could we please turn it down a notch? Could we leave some space to meditate on the true gift we’ve been given? Could we keep the main thing (worshipping our great God), the main thing?
I wish all our readers a Merry Christmas, in the true meaning of the word.