I’m pretty busy. You?
Yep, it’s that season.
The season when I read moving posts asking us to slow down and savor the season. Remember the real meaning. Don’t buy into commercial hype. Be intentional.
I love these posts.
And I really DO want to do better about all those things.
But at the same time, life.
I have a big job right now in an incredibly busy season for my project. December and January are mega work months for me this year.
My husband is slammed at work too.
I’ve had health issues which means super inconvenient doctors’ appointments.
This year, I happen to be the third grade liaison (think grade room mom) which means I’m organizing getting all the teachers and staff gifts from the third graders and developing the auction project and making sure info about the Christmas party and Christmas concert gets out to the parents.
I’ve declined most parties but we do still have work events and a holiday play with our dear family friends and a festive concert with school pals.
My kids are still full on board the Santa sleigh, which I love, but that means trying to navigate present requests that may be out of Santa’s budget range even though we all know he makes his own gifts. Who cares if that doll car is over $200? Santa makes it!
Deep in all that is the meaning.
And we talk about it.
The miracle in the manger.
But the reality is this: two married adults in their 40s with full time jobs; two sets of adult’s families and related holiday connections; a set of third grade triplets – two boys and a girl and all the school and merriment that comes with that; plus church and health and community and life.
This is the tension of Christmas.
Blessings, all. Still, each adds another layer of “busy.”
I sat in my office yesterday being “mindful.” A couple of minutes looking at a tree outside my window and focusing on my breathing while clearing my head.
It helps. I remembered all I am grateful for.
But I went home. Dirty dishes in the sink. Dinner needed to be made. Homework needed to be done. Errands still needed to be run but couldn’t because it was already after 6. I’m pretty sure no one took a shower. I make photo calendars for all the grandparents every year, and I really meant to do it late last night while the big sale was running on Shutterfly. But I didn’t because I had nothing left. I poured myself a glass of wine and watched an episode of This is Us from three weeks ago (because who can watch anything when it actually airs).
This is a temporary season.
I am acutely conscious of its fleeting nature.
When I bought a new car last month, it hit me. My old car, sitting at 150,000 miles and 8 years old, I’d purchased right after the babies turned one. This car, they will drive when they turn 16.
Flash. Blink. It’s gone.
So why am I writing?
Well, I want to let you off the hook. Maybe because I want to let myself off the hook.
It’s okay if you don’t sit in wonder in front of your Christmas tree while listening to swelling music and dwell contemplatively with your family tucked quietly by your side.
You aren’t missing part of your soul if you woke up and got your kid a cool present at midnight on Black Friday.
Don’t beat yourself up if your December calendar looks like a checkerboard on drugs.
It’s fine if dinner came from Chick Fil A and you missed reading together this week.
You’ll drink hot cocoa.
Decorate Christmas cookies.
String lights on a tree.
Watch Home Alone.
Slow down in front of yards with cool lights.
It may be messy and busy but we will find the meaning. We will give to those in need and to those we love. We will probably go over our budget and try to do better next year. I know that our family will light the candles at our Christmas Eve service and remember who is the true light.
That’s the tension of Christmas.
The beautiful, messy, lit up tension of Christmas.