The Christmas Horror Story

With Advent upon us and Christmas soon to follow, I thought I would take a moment to reflect on one of my favorite Christmases so far.

It all started on the morning of Christmas Eve, 2012. With some time together off work and no other family members coming or going, Mia and I decided to Netflix and chill. I mean that literally, not as any sort of euphemism. This is not that kind of blog.

We started watching, of all things, American Horror Story: Murder House. We binge watched it. Cuddled together on the couch on Christmas Eve we watched, grimaced, and held our breath for episode after episode. We stopped to eat, to relieve ourselves, and for a brief outing to look at Christmas lights.  We moved from watching in the living room to watching in the bedroom and fell asleep.

The next morning we exchanged gifts, made breakfast, and got back to it. Late that evening we finished the final episode which, appropriately, ends on Christmas. For some reason that Christmas stands out to me as one of the more memorable in my life. It sounds strange that a holiday memory would center around a scary television program, but it is what it is. 

If you have never seen American Horror Story, I need to explain a little bit for this to make sense. When you watch a horror movie, you are filled with tension that is only relieved when the movie is over. When you watch a twelve-episode long horror series all at once, there is a lot of tension built up before it is relieved at the end. Strangely, every season of American Horror Story that I have seen so far has something approximating a happy ending. Episode after episode of horror, tragedy, and cruelty gives way to some sort of resolution. There is something very Christmas-like there.

Human history, and our day-to-day experiences inside of it, can seem like a horror story. People can do terrible evil to one another, tragedy strikes when we are unprepared for it, and we seem powerless against all the forces arrayed against us. Yet, each year, the holidays roll around and remind us that there can be resolution, relief to the terror. For people of the Christian faith, Christmas is preceded by Advent, the season of waiting and watching. The Christmas story is one of deliverance after years of oppression and subjugation, the coming of a Savior that is not like the Emperors that came before. For the religious and the nonreligious, Christmas can be about more than gifts or family, it can look forward to a day when justice will come and things will be set right. 

What about you? What Christmas memories and meanings have stuck in your heart and mind? Are your memories more traditional or a little on the weird side? Share below!

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