Ha... all those Christmas songs and stories that waft through the air at Christmas time are just a joke. I mean, really, who has time to sit by the fireplace in a little log cabin somewhere in the middle of an evergreen forest. Yeah, it's a nice dream to think about cuddling up in a fuzzy blanket, sipping warm drinks, staring romantically into a special someone's eyes, and taking horse-drawn sleigh rides at night with light snowflakes softly drifting to the ground.
BUT- reality is- every day from November until Christmas Day finds me creating dozens of lists, scurrying from store to store, frantically cleaning the house from top to bottom to eliminate even the tiniest particles of dirt, pulling down the boxes of decorations from the attic, and baking until I can barely stand the sight of flour. There's family get-togethers, parties, church programs, and caroling. I carefully map out each day with a list of things to get done. Monday- houseclean the kitchen and bathroom. Tuesday- houseclean the bedrooms. Wednesday through Friday- bake twenty dozen of cookies. Oh, the utter mental agony that awaits me if I do not fully complete my item of to-dos. I mean, it is even hard to go to sleep with all the things that need to be accomplished jumbling around in my head.
AND THEN...I WAS HIT HARD. Well, not literally, thankfully; but I was jolted back to what Christmas is really about when I started realizing that I wasn't enjoying the little moments around me. What happened to celebrating the baby born in the manger, strengthening family relationships, and growing closer to my friends? I have been so busy that I haven't even been appreciating all the "gifts" that are around me at Christmas time.
So, this Christmas, I won't stress out if my Sunday School class makes mistakes during the Christmas program; instead I will soak in the excited looks on their faces and remember how special this time of year was when I was a child. I won't worry if I don't get all the kinds of cookies made that I was intending to; instead I will take joy in the fact of being able to create some holiday cheer in a little round circle of dough. I won't focus so much on cleaning that I forget to tell my family that I love them. And when I am with my friends, I will try to keep my mind on what they are saying instead of absentmindedly listening with my ears while my head is spinning and trying to keep my plans in order.
Yup, that sounds like the kind of Christmas that will mean the most. The kind of Christmas that isn't focused on me and my plans, but on the ones around me.
Today is a good day to start. I think I will eliminate some of the needless jobs that I was intending to do and instead spend quality time with my brother, give my mother a hug, tell Dad that I appreciate him and all he does, text my friends to see how they are doing, make some hot chocolate, pull out a good classic that I haven't read for awhile, turn on my colorful snowman decoration that I loved when I was little, fill the bathtub with lots of bubbles, light some candles, listen to the Messiah, and have a date night with the One Who made Christmas possible.
This year, I will have a "Silent Night" Christmas. It will be an "all is calm, all is bright, heavenly peace" kind of a Christmas!