I have this kind of romantic idea of Christmastime—and I don’t think I’m alone—that has less to do with romance and more with the lovely idea of walking around in snow-covered streets or into malls filled with lights and decorations as people laugh and hold hands and shop and eat with smiles on their faces. But when I visited my mall a couple weeks ago, the shoppers, drivers, and decorations weren’t quite as grand as I imagined or remembered.
Not to put blame squarely on others—truth is, I’m often not at my best during the holidays, either. This is such a pure and holy holiday, one that at its center is about a baby, a gift of redemption to the world which radiates these other traditions we association with the holidays—beautiful decorations, gift-giving, peace and joy, family, feasts, and winter. But what I’ve seen in my life is that sometimes these good things, and the bad things that happen as we rush around, create a clutter that clogs up the spirit of the holiday. They add to the noise that covers the glorious sound of what Christmas is.
Kietaro gets trapped in this frame of mind during the Love Hina X’Mas Special. At first, though, he has a lovely goal: he wants to get Naru a Christmas dress that he know she likes. And as he’s wont to do, Keitaro approaches this effort with gusto. But then, the ugliness of the holidays and life starts to etch away at him. He breaks his leg. He has to work a part-time job (while Naru is disappointed that he isn’t spending the time studying instead). He sees Naru giving a gift to his romantic rival. By this point, Keitaro is exhausted, hurt, and depressed, and to top it all off, he falls down (remember the broken leg) on a busy street.
For Keitaro, the noise is deafening. In all the ugliness, he has been defeated and lost what was most important to him.
It’s a testament to how weak I am that I do the same, that I let circumstances and the noise of the holidays make me forget what’s so significant about Christmas. Instead of celebrating Christ with family and friends, I lose him during December, sometimes in the busyness and sometimes in the glitter.
Keitaro, caught in a similar situation, is at his lowest (literally he’s on the ground) when he sees Naru wearing his present. I don’t dare make some analogy regarding tsundere Jesus, but Naru shines wearing her red coat, a beacon to Keitaro, lifting his spirit and reminding him of what he was doing everything for all along.
Like our fault-ridden protagonist, I’m not always going to be able to keep the right frame of mind during the season. I’m going to fail, maybe even right up to Christmas Day. But I think if my love for Christ is authentic, if it’s something I desire to grow and develop, I’ll see him when I fall, only to be gently reminded that He is what it’s all about.