I overheard a discussion between three women yesterday afternoon that got me thinking. The conversation went something like this:
I was in the store yesterday, shopping for last minute Christmas presents and I suddenly realized that Christmas isn’t fun anymore.
What do you mean?
Christmas was so much better when the children were little. I loved all the traditions and the baking and leaving cookies for Santa and the kids’ faces on Christmas morning. It was so magical. Now the kids are all grown up, some of them live too far away, some are married with kids of their own…
Yah, I know what you mean.
When I was standing in that store, I felt like crying. Christmas used to be my favourite time of the year but now I dread it.
It was sad to listen to the woman mourn the loss of what was important to her about this season of the year. I understand what she was saying about the magical part of Christmas when the children were young – they truly were fun-filled days of anticipation and such delight – but I was also so crazy busy making Christmas memorable for the children that I didn’t have much time to reflect on the true reason for the season. I loved finding the perfect gifts for the kids, the Christmas pageants, our family traditions, big family dinners and the kids’ excitement but I also distinctly remember that Christmas day always felt empty. Even as I review the past six years of blogging about Christmas, I see the pattern of sadness that I felt around this season.
But Christmas has been different this year for me. Very different.
We decorated the outside and the inside of our house much earlier this year. Our live tree is loaded with meaningful ornaments, we’ve hung twinkling lights in the living room, wrapped our stair bannister with greenery and displayed some special Christmas trinkets that we’ve collected over the years. I haven’t felt pressured about gift giving and my husband and I have thoroughly enjoyed our times together as we’ve thought/bought and made our Christmas presents. I’ve missed my dear friend Coco, who usually bakes up a storm with me but I’m delighted that she’s having a wonderful vacation overseas. I still baked up a storm of goodies. 🙂
But there has been no hustle and bustle, no shopping crowds, no sadness, no feelings of being overwhelmed or disappointment. Instead, I have experienced wonderful quiet times of reflection, long walks alone and precious times of prayer. I’ve been reading from Advent Meditations from the works of Henri Nouwen – The Lord is Near and my heart has been deeply touched by his words.
Something has shifted within me.
There has been healing in my life. Understanding. Acceptance. A settling in my soul.
I celebrate this gift of Jesus – this deep peace and joy of Jesus – I celebrate it all.
I celebrate Him.