Suddenly Christmas looks like it’s all about babies. For my other blog, I posted a video of me singing “Silent Night.” I thought about posting another song here, but every song I looked at that was not annoying and not copyrighted was about the Mother and Child or about children being all excited about Santa Claus. There were angels and shepherds, too, but the Baby Jesus is almost always in there.
Of course, Jesus isn’t just any baby. Depending on your beliefs, he’s the son of God, a prophet, a king or just a really famous historical figure but definitely not just a regular baby. In our Catholic liturgies this month, we also have the story of Mary’s cousin Elizabeth having a baby after years of being barren. That child became John the Baptist.
We don’t know for sure if Mary had other children. Some faiths say yes, some say no. Did the Virgin Mary stay a virgin? Did Joseph lose his chance to be a biological dad by sticking with Mary? The Bible doesn’t share that detail.
I’m thinking a lot about the Holy Family not just because it’s Christmas but because I just finished reading Sue Monk Kidd’s The Book of Longings, a novel about Ana, the fictional wife of Jesus. There’s nothing in the Bible about Jesus having a wife. Perhaps he stayed single so that he could focus on his ministry. If He did have a wife, many think it was Mary Magdalene, but what if he married a feisty first-century feminist named Ana instead? It’s fascinating to think about.
Ana wants to be a writer—a scribe—a role not usually allowed to women. A mother? Not so much. She uses the birth control methods of the era to try to avoid getting pregnant. You’ll have to read the book to see how that plays out, but it’s interesting to envision what it was like in a time when women had almost no freedom but still had dreams that motherhood would make difficult to fulfill.
Here’s another thought. What if Jesus did have a wife and He told her that he couldn’t have children because God the Father sent him to save humanity from our sins? What if Jesus’s wife was childless by marriage?
I’m just letting my crazed mind wander. I hope I don’t offend anyone. I have had too much stormy weather and Zoom church. Is the rain and wind in western Oregon ever going to stop? But seriously, does Christmas bum you out with all of its emphasis on mothers and babies? Are there songs that you just can’t stand because they remind you that you don’t have children? Are the holidays any easier for childless non-Christians? Let’s talk about it.
Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. It will be an odd one with COVID-19 keeping us from our usual celebrations. I have just had a loved one die of the virus. His live-streamed funeral is next Monday. I will be thinking of his wife and kids as my sister-friend Pat and I celebrate our little Christmas for two. We’re getting takeout food this time, too lazy to cook. But we are going to bake cookies this afternoon just for fun. Neither of us needs the added calories, but we miss the good times of yesteryear. So we’ll talk and sing and bake and treasure the moments.
What is your plan for this week? Is it easier or harder because you can’t gather with lots of people? Please share in the comments.
On Dec. 30, I will join a group of older childless women from all over the English-speaking world for a Zoom chat titled “Fireside Wisdom for Childless Elderwomen.” Participants include include Jody Day of Gateway Women; Karen Malone Wright, founder of The NotMom; Maria Hill of Sensitive Evolution; Jackie Shannon Hollis, author of This Particular Happiness: A Childless Love Story; Kate Kaufmann, author of Do You Have Kids? Life When the Answer is No; Donna Ward, author of She I Dare Not Name: A Spinster’s Meditations on Life, and Stella Duffy, novelist, actor, playwright, and founder of FunPalaces. Click the link here for more information. It’s happening at noon Pacific Time, but will be recorded for those who can’t attend then. This is my first outing with this “Elderwomen” group, and I would love to see some friends there. Do come.
The new book, Love or Children: When You Can’t Have Both, which offers the best of this blog, is out now. You can get it at Amazon or order it from your favorite bookseller. If you send me proof of purchase and your U.S. mailing address at email@example.com, I will send you a copy of my previous book, Childless by Marriage, totally free. Overseas readers, due to postage costs, I can only offer the Kindle version. If you already own the first book, check out my web site and pick another book you’d like to have.
To promote the new book, I’m asking for reviews, speaking opportunities, guest spots on blogs and podcasts, and social media “shares” wherever you can. This is our book. Without your comments, it would be nothing. Let’s spread the word far and wide. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am so grateful for all of you. I hope this Christmas eases your hearts and that you find peace one way or the other with your childless situation. Be well.
Merry Christmas and a blessed 2021,
Love Sue and Annie the Dog
P.S. did you see the true story about the childless couple who decided to adopt a calf as their son? Read it here.
10 thoughts on “Christmas! It’s All About Children!”
Hi Sue. I’m sorry for the loss of your loved one. How sad, especially with holidays and covid.
Everything you posted here resonates with me at Christmas. I am a lapsed Catholic convert who at present is more of an agnostic than anything. My husband and I attend church from time to time but I always feel that it is too family centric for me (we live in a suburb of Philadelphia) and yes, especially at Christmas when the focus is all about the baby Jesus and about children generally. It is a painful time. Our normal holiday would be spent in FL with family, but that had to be cancelled this year. So I’m spending a rather depressing couple of weeks thinking about my sister and her daughter, my niece, and their two children, who I haven’t seen in a year. They’re all together enjoying the beach and each other, without reaching out, as they’re not in tune with the pain I experience around the holidays. This year it feels a little more biting because I braved a first time post on my FB page during World Childless Week and had hoped my family would finally understand that the loss one suffers doesn’t ever go completely away, even though I’m now in my 60s.
We will have a couple/close friends over for dinner tomorrow night after they return from Mass. I’m preparing a festive seafood dinner and we’ll have a nice evening.
We will make the best of these days and spend most of the weekend feeling happy that it’s over (until next year).
I’m registered for the Zoom call next Wednesday so will see you there! I’ll also be purchasing your book. Thanks Sue. Merry Christmas.
My heart is heavy this year. I have friends who have lost close family members, some covid, some not – all sad. I live in a very relaxed rural area and the contention on wearing masks is high. I own a business and I must enforce everyone wearing a mask (even though I do not personally believe they are the solution). It’s been stressful to deal with it all and do business. And to know that even though I’m working harder than ever – I’m going to barely squeak by this year.
Christmas time always makes me feel guilty and inadequate. While others are running full steam ahead and making a magical Christmas for their multiple children, buying gifts for not only their own families but their kids’ bus driver, religion teacher, regular teacher, dance instructors, Girl Scout leader, etc. etc., I can barely organize my life in order to purchase the one gift exchange present for my extended family.
My life just feels so “less than” at this time of year. And it makes me think of holidays past (not all great memories) and a little fearful of the Christmas future (no Tiny Tim to keep me in check). No wonder suicide rates climb at the holidays. I mean, I’m down in the dumps, but I know that next week, when the schedule clears, I’ll crash for a day and be ready to roll again. I understand myself and am working on balance. Those with true depression – wow, this time of year can drown a person in sorrow. I truly hope that anyone who reads this, and feels those dark thoughts can just HANG ON! There is value in the challenge of life. There is victory in working hard for your happiness. Sweetness is coming – don’t give up.
Hug to you Sue as you and your friend find your way to a happy Christmas day. Thank you again for your kindness and for having this forum for us. You are a blessing.
Anon S, hugs to you for being here for all of us. You are not less than anyone.
I am actually finding it easier this year. We had planned to be with my elderly parents, but due to last minute changes to the rules, we cannot travel. We are local to my husband’s family, but they are not gathering together this year. Suits me, I always feel like a spare part there, amidst the grandchildren. So many people are home alone this year I do not have the images of big family gatherings in my head that I usually have.
This resonates with me Jenny. I was pleased that my in-laws were not gathering on Thanksgiving. It made the day so much easier. We gathered on Christmas and it was “okay” but it took a day for me to recover from the feelings. Your “spare part” analogy hits home.
It’s such a weird and sad year. Christmas used to be really hard for me. It is extremely child-centric. After needing several years to hide out/take a break from the typical Christmas stuff, I’ve reclaimed the parts I enjoy for myself. Namely, the food, decorations, and presents haha.
After not having a tree last year, I bought a small artificial one and some lights and ornaments this year. I’ve really enjoyed it. Yesterday I made chex mix and orange blueberry loaf. Today I’ll prepare tomorrow’s sides and also make some queso and bean dip to go with tamales for a Tex Mex dinner. Then tomorrow I’ll cook the sides, a ham, and a chicken. It feels festive, gives me something to do, and, most importantly, will give me leftovers so I can continue to be lazy, I mean leisurely, all weekend long. 😉
I miss how life used to be. I miss shopping in stores for others. I miss my family. I miss having friends in real life. (Moving during a pandemic is not very conducive to meeting new people.) I’m thankful for my boyfriend. I’m also thankful for the blogosphere, where I always feel understood.
Thank you for your blog! I clicked over and listened to Silent Night too. Thank you for that. Hearing a beautiful and classic song was so comforting. ❤ Wishing you a peaceful holiday and a happy new year!!
Thank you, Phoenix. That Tex-Mex dinner sounds good! May the new year be good to you.
I did enjoy your thoughts on Mary and Joseph’s additional family (or not). Although I am not very religious, for some reason I did find myself wondering about whether they had subsequent children recently. Who knows where that came from!
Environmentalist of Florida, Mavynee Betsch, now deceased, never had children nor did she marry.
Again, I don’t celebrate xmas or holidays, by choice. I left the churches decades ago while living in toxic city Houston texas. No regrets! See Tom Flynn, author of the book, THE TROUBLE WITH CHRISTMAS, 1990s.