christmas comes and goes so quickly, doesn’t it? it begins with anticipation and excitement, that turns quickly into anxiety, anger, frustration, unmet expectations. why do we let a season created to celebrate the birth of christ become about us? we all do it. in my attempt to slow things down and have more meaning this year, i decided to try to make all (ok, most) of the gifts we are giving. its been fun, and at times stressful, thinking up gifts for my loved ones. i’ve had to be more thoughtful about the gifts i’m making. but then it creeps in. no longer is the gift-making about giving a handmade gift to a loved one, but just getting it done, checking something else off the list. how often i have heard, out of my own mouth at times i’m sure, how we “have to do this and that to prepare for christmas”. we make our to-do and to-buy lists longer each year, much longer than they need to be. why do we do this? sometimes i think that we have a need to be busy, or feel busy. aren’t we busy enough with regular life, without adding all these extra things on top? doesn’t everyone say this is a “busy season”? shouldn’t we be busy just being and not “doing”, being with those who matter the most to us, celebrating the gifts we have been given in family, not material things?
while i’ve been working on gifts, i’ve let a lot slide. my house is an absolute disaster, which i have to dig myself out of every few days. what a patient and understanding husband i have! my kids needs are met, but just barely. so is this what the season is about? whats better: running around town trying to find the perfect gifts, or making my own, but taking it out on my family? (so many questions, i know!) ideally, i would’ve began this adventure earlier, enjoyed the process, and began the season in the right way. i’ve been wanting to do an advent calendar with my kids, but it has now become “another thing to do”. why? especially when that is what its all about: teaching my kids about the prophecies of christ’s birth, the immaculate conception, the shepherds, the stable… the things they need to know!
i usually spend so much of december coveting then often buying more christmas decorations for the house. this year has been a bit better, i think because i haven’t really been out shopping much, so i’m not really seeing whats out there. abstaining rather than being strong enough to pass things up, my lazy way of fighting temptation. i still want to make more christmas decorations though (what’s with the desire to “make” this year?), and i so easily justify it as “for the kids”. really its for me. i like to create, to craft, to decorate. i’d like the kids to like it too, buts its more about satisfying my own desires, not theirs. and what if it were their desires? should more decorations be what the season is about? should making it fun for the kids be what the seaon is about? no! that is a byproduct, a happy result, but what we should be most concerned with is glorifying god in this season, and all seasons, with proclaiming the truth of his son’s miraculous birth and all the goodness he has brought to us, and all the sin he has taken from us in his death. wow! that is what we should celebrate!
so as i think about how fast this season is passing, a season i don’t fully appreciate for what it is, or throw myself completely into, i realize there is yet another season that is passing me by: my season of life. how quickly its passing, and i don’t even see it for what it is! (ok, this part of my post is getting really difficult to write, as lily has been fighting bedtime for over an hour and a half now!) right now i see it as hard, trying, exhausting, sleepless. i know, without a doubt, that in only a few years i will be longing for things to be as they are now. but will i be longing for the feelings i just mentioned? no. i’ll be wanting the things i so easily forget right now: how wonderful it is to wake up in the morning to all 5 of us in bed, to lay there for as long as we can; how sweet the snuggles of a newborn are; how my oldest wants to please me; how my middle child is learning new words every day; even more simply – how i only have one child to drop off at school, how we have no sports practices or games to be on time for, how we have no homework to do to take away from family time. with each season comes all the trials and joys. i so hope that i remember the joys above the trials. not that i forget the hard things, but that they are so outweighed by the wonderful, that they are just a side note. i guess i want to see it like how i view labor: i want to do it again and again. yes, it was hard and painful, but also the most incredible thing i have ever experienced, the most joyful times in my life, the most bonding experience for my husband and i. i want to look back on this stage and remember what we went through, how tough these kiddos were, but so much more, to remember these precious moments, the bonding times, the times that make our family who we are.
ok, thats enough rambling for now. back to the sewing machine ;)
post script: i realize now that this post is making some of you sad for me. that is not the intention. i feel like i have just become more aware of myself and others around me and how the season affects so many of us. this awareness is a good thing, and i am not sad about it. hopefully it will drive me to change some of my ways. i actually have taken quite a break from gift making because that was what was needed. my kids have been very demanding of all the time which i would normally be able to craft, but thats ok. i have plenty of time to finish, and if they want my attention, why wouldn’t i give it to them? also, my grandfather passed away yesterday. see my mom’s comment (the first one). maybe some extra emotions are coming out because i don’t really know how to deal with his death. mourning for someone who i had harsh feelings for is difficult. i feel like i’m mourning more for my mom’s loss than mine. she is a gracious woman who loves so many despite the way they treat her. i love you mom!