Did I mention I love Christmas – – – the beautiful decorations, the lights and lovelies, Christmas carols, Christmas story books, beautifully wrapped gifts, nativity scenes, the smell of pine cones and fresh mangoes (my Christmas smells) – ahhhh I love all of it – – – I just don’t want it to kill me.
At the risk of stating the very obvious – – – – Christmas can be exhausting !! And oh my the pressure to produce and create, to turn up and turn on, to buy, to bake, to wrap, to twinkle and shine and be merry – it seems we want to pack so much in and make it last, to soak up the peace and good will, to lap up the loveliness, the magic – the world so thirsty for it and at Christmas it has an excuse to rejoice, a reprieve from life’s harshness – so its all in and it goes all out and oh dear thats me looking dazed and disoriented and gasping for breath. You too?
So I’m taking a breath, lots of them, slow, deep ones and making room for Christmas – making room for what really matters, at my own pace, in my own time – – – I hope.
It involves saying no more often than yes to Christmassy events and activities I would normally do, it means staying home more and enjoying what I already have rather than looking around at what I don’t have, watching Christmas movies with the kids. It’s sitting at the table with my little girl with a mess of glitter and glue, and paper and scissors and imagination spread out all over it and making decorations. It’s night drives to look at Christmas lights and eat ice cream. There’s less of a few things too – less trips to the mall, less “have to do this” and less feeling pressured by what other people are doing.
So as much as I love the twinkle of them – all the lights aren’t up yet – just a few, the presents aren’t all wrapped, the house isn’t picture perfect, no cookies baked at this stage and this year I haven’t redecorated the tree after the kid’s
massacred — decorated it. (That may still happen).
This too – I bought $1.50 Advent Calendars with Santa on them from Coles (horrors). I could have got something fancier but the kids liked these. I could have made my own but I knew in reality that just wasn’t gonna happen this year so instead of thinking about beautiful hand made cute as a button Advent Calendars – – – – I just bought these and everyday we do this – when they open the door and take out a chocolate they say something they are thankful for – not something they want under the tree but something they have right now – it slows them and they see things differently for a moment. Thats the bit that valuable – that’s the bit that really matters.
“When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things – not the great occasions – give off the greatest glow of happiness.” Bob Hope
It’s not a perfect tree or exquisite decorations that my children will remember (thank God) They will remember how they felt though, moments and certain smells and being excited and happy and laughing and us sitting together and being loved and feeling safe.
This too – I want them to remember us celebrating Jesus together – His coming to us, our rescuer, our Hope – I want them to remember that – not me being stressed out by it all, not me saying I haven’t got time.
The pretty tree, the presents, the food, the lights are all part of that celebration but they don’t have to be perfect or in gigantic proportions to qualify – so take a deep breath with me, take the pressure to pull a perfect Christmas out of your hat – it doesn’t exist and it doesn’t matter anyway. People matter, moments with those people matter, Jesus coming to us matters, love matters.
“We were together. I forget the rest. “ Walt Whitman
Writing this post reminded me of another I wrote earlier in the year for Women Connect. So I’m going to repost it right along with this one – a double whammy – enjoy.
Reading about Jesus feeding the five thousand got me thinking about what is “enough”. In this scripture a young boy’s willingness to share his lunch was enough and a few loaves of bread and two fish were enough.
Jesus said to believe is enough. The crowd gathered asked“ What does God want us to do?” Jesus told them, “This is what God wants you to do: Believe in the one he has sent” (28 & 29)
So why do we so often feel the pressure that we are not enough – not yet – one day maybe – but not yet – that we have to be more, do more or have more – and somehow then we will be enough for Him and for others.
Am I waiting for more faith before I can believe, a nicer house before I invite someone for lunch, more money before I give, more skill before I have a go at something, more eloquent words before I start to tell my story, more inspiration before I start to create. In his innocence that young boy just offered what he had that day and it was enough for Jesus to work a miracle.
Another enough – Jesus says His grace is more than enough. “ My gracious favour is all you need. My power works best in your weakness” 2 Corinthians 12:9 Who we are TODAY and what we have to offer TODAY is enough – our little, our big, our weak and our strong , our best shot and our near misses. It may not be where we’ll always be but believing Him and offering what we have to Him TODAY– is enough and we are enough.
He is everything – so we don’t have to be.
Lets just use and enjoy what we have TODAY– the gifts, the time, the home, the smarts, the creativity – with Jesus right now – your enough already!