Since Thanksgiving we have been busy, busy, busy – it seems everyone wanted to get Christmas gatherings planned before the true crush of Christmas which strangely leaves me with nothing “official” for next week, a week when I would normally be super busy. This might actually mean I will get my holiday baking and goodie making done and presents wrapped prior to the night before we leave for Lansing. Don’t get me wrong, we still have a couple things planned, but no parties (except a small group get together I have misguidedly called “Adult Themed Small Group Christmas Party” on the calendar in my phone – no idea why I would call it that; we are just having a sit down meal without kids, nothing risque about it, as my title would suggest). I love this season because I am a social creature, I like spending time with people.
Despite loving the season, I still I feel the busy-ness of this time of year, it leaves my head spinning and me wondering what I am missing. I remembered that at this time last year, we were getting ready to move our office and preparing for our upcoming trip to Australia. How did I manage to stay sane last year? (Answer: the grace of God, plain and simple.) I asked my co-worker if I was crazed last year and she said, “Actually, I remember commenting to my husband about how laid back you were about everything.” Phew… I am definitely the “good in a crisis” girl. Though, being good in times of stress doesn’t mean there isn’t some debris left in my wake, but that debris is mostly contained to my own home – literally and figuratively (sorry, Simon). [It also means that we don’t normally put up a Christmas tree because then I have to add “take down Christmas tree” to my list of to-dos for January, which is the time I normally use for crashing and slothdom (because even a party-loving girl needs some downtime). But this year, we did it, we put up a tree and I realized how much I loved doing it growing up and I’m glad we can give that memory to our kids and I do promise to put up a tree from now on. Scout’s honor.]
In the midst of the busy-ness, we are taking time to drive home the reason for the season, to make sure that our kids are celebrating Jesus’ birth more than they are asking for presents from us (and everyone else, including, Santa – it’s an ongoing “battle”). On Kim’s wonderful suggestion, we purchased The Advent Book last year and my boys LOVE reading it every day (Liam opens the odd-numbered doors and Jack opens the evens). In the season where we can focus so much on “take, take, take” I want my kids to remember it’s as much (if not more) about giving as it is receiving. They get the message of receiving pound into their little brains everywhere they look, our job is to counter that message with the one that points to the manager and the giving of gifts to others. We can celebrate the season by honoring both the spirit of generosity and the discipline of graceful receiving. We are recipients of gifts that we did not earn but that are given because we are loved so much by the giver of those gifts – whether they come in swaddling clothes or pretty wrapping paper.
I love Christmas because it is a season of get-togethers and togetherness – of family and friends, and traditions new and old. And I love that, to me, as a Christian, it celebrates my Savior’s birth, giving reason and meaning to this life here on earth and I give gifts to others to honor that celebration and love.