Today was a nightmare. One of those days I insisted I wouldn't have this Christmas season. After a horrific morning here at home (I was reduced to tears twice, and locked myself in the closet once just to scream. How's that for good tidings?), I decided the girls and I needed to get out of here. We ran around to a couple of stores shopping for more things we don't need and in the process had several tantrums, lost one of Addie's shoes (my favorite pair, nonetheless), and completely missed the nap window. What a proud moment it was during one of the girls' spats when a woman (my age, probably) turned to her friend and said, "Doesn't it make you want to have kids?" to which her friend quickly replied, "NO!" I wanted to sink into the floor.
But when I got back into the car and remembered I had my favorite Christmas CD in there, everything came rushing to me and I was reduced to tears once again. Christmas will still go on if I don't have the perfect presents for everyone, with the perfect bows and wrapping. I don't need to be out running last minute errands with everyone else when I could be at home enjoying the season and slowing down with my girls. As my favorite Christmas songs played, I couldn't help but tear up and realize that once again I've lost sight of Christmas, just as I vow not to do at the end of every Christmas season. "Next year will be different..."
Last week at our MOPS brunch, my friend Lucy spoke a poignant message to us. She told us that Christmas shouldn't be about STRESS... but instead about REST. (Rearrange a few letters... see?) She gave us an anagram for REST -
R: Remember... remember the reason for Christmas (JESUS!), remember Christmas pasts, remember to rest!
E: Enjoy... enjoy the season. There's so much beauty in traditions, history, family, snow, and most of all, the Christmas story. If we don't enjoy it, we miss it.
S: Simplify... learn to say "no" to some of our obligations. What can we do without this year? Maybe it's just cutting out something we feel burdened to "get done" during the Christmas season. This season, I decided to not decorate the outside of my house, save for a wreath on the door. It feels good seeing those bags of garland, knowing that don't HAVE to be put up. Probably no one cares but me anyway! And Gary isn't too upset that I'm not having him put up outside lights, either. :) We haven't taken our family Christmas photo for our cards yet, and if we don't, that's okay too!
T: Treasure... treasure the moments of the season and treasure the GIFT of Christmas: Jesus! Lucy also reminded us that the magical years of little ones and the joy in their faces during Christmas doesn't last forever, so treasure it now. I'm glad tomorrow's a new day so I can start over and treasure my girls. I did NOT treasure them today! LOL
I keep thinking, "Okay, once I have Christmas 'done' then I can sit and enjoy it." I think I've realized today that that's just stupid. Christmas was 'done' a long, long time ago. To think I can do anything to make it any better or more perfect is foolish. God gave us the gift of his Son. He came to earth as a man... as a baby. What can be more perfect? That conjures up so many things in my mind. It's such a wonderful, touching story and I'm ashamed that I'm not more eager to share it. My favorite Christmas songs from that CD are all wrought with so much emotion for me (well, almost... Barbra Streisand's version of Jingle Bells is just fun, maybe not so emotional! :) ), that it really gets me thinking about Christmas and its meaning. Maybe I'll write about that in the next couple days. Music really speaks to me during the Christmas season!
Anyway... I don't think anyone ever reads this, but if you're reading, I hope you take time to REST. Let me know how it goes for you! :)