Happy December! By the hardest, I’ve been holding myself back from thinking about December for a while — from thinking about the Christmas holidays. It IS hard. And not necessarily because the excitement is overwhelming, but because the busy-ness and preparations and schedule can be overwhelming. And because all the hullabaloo the holiday brings tends to encroach on my rest and my peace of mind sometimes.
Just before Thanksgiving, I was in the local Wal-Mart picking up items for Bug’s 5-year-old birthday party. I wanted to get a few extra gift items for him and also some “big brother” and “big sister” gifts for the other two. I think that’s when the impending holiday season hit me — right about the time I turned onto the toy aisle. To say it was overwhelming is an understatement, for sure. My mind immediately went into overload with the number of options for Christmas presents. I flittered from one item to the next thinking how one would love this or one would love that. My brain filled up with a low-grade panic because I didn’t yet have a “plan” for getting Christmas presents or doing teacher gifts or baking goodies or putting up decorations. I had to shake my head at myself right there on aisle 17. I had to tell myself to snap out of it and focus on the birthday at hand.
That’s when I decided that I wanted Christmas to be different this year. Sometimes I over-plan or over-work or over-schedule myself right into a serious case of Bah Humbug or at the least a case of wanting a long winter’s nap during this season. Sadly, there have been times when it made me happy to see the festivities come to an end.
With changes and challenges and the plethora that comes with mommyhood and designerhood, I found myself perhaps dreading the holiday season. But, here’s the thing. I’m a celebration-junkie. I like to celebrate. I like to create and enjoy traditions that celebrate and elevate the simple splendor of everyday life — and especially the simple splendors of a Christmas Christ child on a bed of hay. I don’t want that spirit to be dampened in my heart, in my home, in my life. I don’t want Christmas to get so lost in a sea of preparations that I miss the opportunity to see it, much less celebrate it.
The true celebration of Christmas has the uncanny ability to bring a unique light to the winter of life. From a miraculous child and astonished herdsmen to questioning sages and a guiding star, the story of Christmas can bring clarity from it’s sheer simplicity and humility. This month so often sheds light, a pure and clear light. One that opens up our eyes of wonder. The wonder that makes us step outside our tired thinking to believe in possibilities. The wonder that makes us curious. The wonder that gives us courage to follow the light set before us. The wonder that makes us seek our own light found in the unlikeliest of places.
So, I’m starting this December with my guard up. So that I can keep my heart open to the season’s light. I’m guarding my time so that I can choose to focus on the best things and activities and people. I want my children to know this celebration, not just their busy and frazzled mommy. I want them to see this light and wonder for themselves. And I want to see the light myself. And wonder.