I wrangled Curly-Haired Daughter and Youngest Son and put them to work. They dusted and put out Nativities, hung some ornaments from light fixtures, swept and generally made merry.
Tallest Son was assigned to dish washing and general kitchen cleaning, and we scurried around him. He was a grouch, a grinch, a general pain. He was (as determined as I was to make merry) determined to be a brat.
Finally, after the umpteenth grumpy remark, I told him, "Look, either you get in the Christmas spirit RIGHT NOW, or you have to find another ride to work." His response, "You're kidding?! You're gonna make me feel something I don't want to feel???"
That was a pretty profound moment. In reality, we can't MAKE anyone "feel" something - not even ourselves. I haven't "felt" Christmas-y at all this year. Not one bit. But I made the decision the other day that I was going to ACT like I was feeling Christmas-y, regardless of how I felt. And that's what I told Tallest Son: "I can't make you 'feel' anything. But you are gonna adjust your attitude and your behavior. You have control over that." And he did.
I know this works, because I've been struggling with the same thing all during Advent. I haven't "felt" the spirit of Christmas, the hope of new birth, the dawning of the coming of Christ. And I've been dwelling in that darkness....by choice. Now, I'm making the decision not to dwell there. I might not "feel" all joy and jingle bells yet (or ever), but I'm going to ACT as if I do.
There aren't any excuses for sinful, bratty behavior. We choose it. We may feel like it's justified, but it isn't. I'm adjusting my attitude, and putting on my elf for the remainder of the holiday season.
Give thanks to the LORD, invoke his name;
make known among the peoples his deeds!
Sing praise to him, play music;
proclaim all his wondrous deeds!
Glory in his holy name;
let hearts that seek the LORD rejoice!
Seek out the LORD and his might;
constantly seek his face.
Recall the wondrous deeds he has done,
his wonders and words of judgment