Can we just talk about Christmas for a second and how ridiculous the pace is? Even if you desire a slower speed, relaxation with family and a minute to breathe and take in the REAL reason for the season, it’s nearly impossible. Granted, organization has never been my strong suit, but I try. I try hard! I start thinking about Christmas in October and vow every year that I’ll have my act together so we can just BE. But once again, it’s a rat race.
I’ve baked a mere one dozen cookies – half of which I’ve eaten…frozen. I’m not done wrapping. The house is a disaster. My cards aren’t addressed and I can’t even remember the last time i moved that stupid elf. We can’t go to the Christmas Cantata at church because it overlaps with college graduation. We can’t just sit home and light the advent candles and watch a Christmas special on TV together because choir concerts and band concerts and a million other mandatory obligations. Fa la la la – lay off us, world!
This makes me miss homeschool. We used to work hard in the fall so we could take a few weeks off in December. We spent time as a family doing Christmas at a reasonable stride. We weren’t as stressed out! We spent time reading Christmas stories, talking about baby Jesus, doing crafts, etc. We made better memories. Public school has been excellent to my kids this year, but with it does come a lot more “stuff.” Our family calendar isn’t our own anymore. It’s insane.
So, it isn’t enough to just WANT to slow it all down. It feels impossible. I’ve tried to readjust my expectations, but I’m a little resentful. Just putting dinner on the table in an effort to eat together before we have to rush off somewhere is a difficult task. We are digging in laundry baskets for clean underwear, we are eating a lot of cereal and doing our best. But I don’t like it. I want time for reverence at Christmas. Because we owe it not just to ourselves, but also we owe it to our Savior, am I right?
On the flipside, I suppose the crazy schedule serves as a distraction. When things quiet down, there’s time to think about how different things are this year. In the stillness, our hearts are reminded that our family isn’t the same this Christmas. Yet I know the answer and the healing isn’t found in the busyness. It’s only a distraction from what we will be required to feel at some point. Because grief doesn’t disappear. It lurks. It stalks. It simply won’t go away until we face it head-on. It’s in the silence and the tranquility where we feel it. But also in that space is where we can connect with God and each other. It’s where we heal. And that’s the remedy my family needs. It’s a pretty good prescription for all of us, actually. We can’t take in the “wonders of His love” if we are running ourselves ragged and are too distracted to really think about the Son of God.
From now until Christmas, I’m going to perform a dedicated, intentional search for quiet space so we can do this. I’m giving up on a clean house and folded laundry. I’ll probably buy cookies at the store instead of trying to bake them. I’m going to make whatever concessions are possible so we can be humbled by the birth of Jesus, not crushed by the incredible weight and ridiculous expectations of the world. Who’s with me?
Let’s all seek the silent and the holy. Let’s demand time for joy and peace. I won’t judge your laundry pile and cluttered counters if you don’t judge mine, ok? Extra grace for me, extra grace for you, alright?
I’m praying you find time for all that actually matters this Christmas too. The world isn’t going to give it, so we’re going to have to steal it. I’m feeling ready to snatch it back. How about you?
Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”
Matthew 1:21 (NIV)
21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[a] because he will save his people from their sins.”