“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!”
― Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
I love that quote! The older I get, the more sentimental I get. I’ve gotten better about not letting the commercialism of the Christmas season get to me. I truly enjoy shopping for the ones I love, instead of looking at it as a chore. I no longer fret that they will be disappointed or not like it. Hey, I don’t have to return it.
I have also become the master of gift receipts. The most important thing about gift giving is that some love and thoughtfulness goes into each present. I have to give online shopping a little credit here too, it definitely helps. It also helps to send my husband “suggestive links,” just in case he needs some ideas. Yes, the tech world has helped a lot when it comes to buying gifts. Ultimately, I work hard to focus on the real gift of the season. The birth of our Savior and King! I mean if you’re not celebrating that, what exactly are you celebrating? Believe me, this is not a Hallmark holiday.
Shopping with a friend last week was fun too. Isn't everything more enjoyable with a friend? No, that van did not come home full of wrapped presents, but it was full of presents! We had a major decision to make as our week was coming to a close and time was flying by! On our last afternoon, should we wrap presents or get pedicures? I feel we made the right decision and I have golden, glittery, Christmas toes to prove it.
I have been thinking a lot about what my word for the season should be this week. So far I’ve talked about Peace and Hope. There was definitely a "B" theme as I wrote down believe, then blessing was on my mind a lot, then I went to belong, and beloved. While I had a lot to say about each one, I felt like it wasn’t anything I hadn't heard before. Then I heard it on the radio, a B word that we can all relate to: BUSY! While it's not a touching Christmas word, it is a major player in describing the Christmas season.
I heard the DJ say, “If the devil doesn't make you bad, he will make you busy,” and there you have it. It's the number one thing to be aware of in this season of celebration. Don’t lose sight of the real reason this holiday is here in the first place because you are too BUSY. Ever heard any of these?
I had a perfect lesson in the devil trying get me into one of those Busy modes, the closer I got to home after a really peaceful week away.
My friend and I were traveling home all day Sunday and making great time! Then we hit Indiana and it became a white knuckled snowy drive. I am that van in the right lane, going 35 mph, and I don’t care if it annoys anyone. Especially the guy that passes me in a little car. I bet we still got home before him, as it takes a while to wait for a tow truck after you go into the ditch.
We counted over 20 cars in the ditch and emergency vehicle flashers were constant for about 150 miles. Then I got this text from my daughter, “Mom, a lot of people have lost power near our house.” I reflected that only 13 hours earlier, I had taken a deep breath to smell the Gulf one more time and embraced the warm air, knowing by the end of the day it would be over. Over it was!
I came home to no power. Hubby was gone, the alarms were blaring, and the house was freezing. The worst part was the house key search, because who uses a key anymore?!? Thank goodness for flashlights on phones, because when the garage door won’t budge, you have no choice but to find the stupid key.
So, I silenced the alarm, locked the door, and crawled into bed fully clothed. After a day of travel (think public restrooms,) I wanted nothing more than a hot shower. But that night, it was not an option. When I crawled into my cold bed, I prayed. I thanked God for a safe trip home, for the beauty of the snow (because it truly was breathtaking on the trees that night), and to keep me safe and not be scared of every little noise. Guess what? When the power is out, there is no noise. Problem solved; prayer answered.
The power came on around 11 the next morning, and I managed with some serious head work to stay positive, even though things had definitely not been going as planned. I kept my attitude in check and when that power came back on, I got BUSY! The van was unloaded, those presents were wrapped, I caught up with my kids, and yes the list goes on, but that's ok. I refuse to let busy translate into a bad thing. And yes, I still have to decorate the dang tree.
I know that life looks a little different when the kids are grown up and out of the house. Believe
me all you young Moms, I clearly remember the ornery kids who lost out on their naps, endless Christmas programs and concerts, grocery shopping and food preparation to take to a trillion parties.
Yes, I remember it well. To tell you the truth, I wish I would have cherished it more. That I would have focused more on the joy and love that was surrounding me and my family at Christmas in all those moments. Don’t get me wrong, I have so many beautiful memories of Christmas when my kids were little. All of those things that made us crazy busy, I miss like crazy now!
I miss my family members that are no longer with us. I miss holding my breath while my child delivered her line at the Christmas program. I miss Christmas outfits and little padded feet waking us up at dawn when we just wanted to sleep! All of those things are distant memories and now we are focusing on making new memories.
We celebrate Christmas with our kids on Christmas Eve, along with my Mom-in-law. Does anyone recall the power outage last Christmas Eve??? I do! I didn't allow it to rock my world and tried hard to stay in the spirit, as I prepared for the night ahead. It was just kind of hard to hear the Christmas Carols over the generator you know? I can’t help but think about how I took that all in stride.
That certainly wasn’t always the case. In this new way of life, aka sober, I can handle it. Funny, I always thought a drink helped any situation, but now I know it typically just makes it worse. I have no doubt in my mind, had I still been drinking last year when the power went out, I would have been sloshed for our family party for sure. Been there, done that. Never again. I love that I can reflect on progress each year. Progress, not perfection, mind you.
One more reflection on that B word this week. The holidays are a mixed bag of emotions. Some of us are headed into an extremely joyful holiday with new babies, loved ones traveling to be with us, a cancer free year, many different things to celebrate in this season of Christ’s birth.
Others, though, just aren't feeling it. Many have loved ones lost, financial strain, quarreling relatives, or an illness, just to name a few. The answer to dealing with any of it is NOT Busy. Don’t try to get through the holidays, if you have hard stuff going on, by staying as busy as possible. You will totally miss out. You might be thinking, I don’t care if I miss out on anything.
I want to share something with you. If there is one thing I've learned in life it is this: For every first or hard situation, you have to go through it. Head first. It is hard and there is no right or wrong way to go through anything hard, especially at Christmas. The answer does not lie in staying busy and burying yourself in the endless to do lists.
Choose another B word instead of Busy:
Believe how much he loves you. Enough to send his son to be born in a manager so long ago.
Blessings, because if you look hard they are all around you in spite of your pain.
Belong, because you do. You are part of the family of God.
Best of all Beloved, because you are.
Peace on your weekend,