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Two Christmases Too Many

Chris and i celebrated Christmas three times this year – two times too many but I don’t think we could have done it any differently.

Christmas Eve day was spent with Chris’ extended family, Christmas Day was with my extended family and the 26th was at our place with our kids and their significant others. This was the only way to accomodate everyone…but it wore us out.  We are completely exhausted today and after dropping Coco off at the subway station in Toronto this morning, we thoroughly enjoyed some down-time together without noise, clutter and demands.

Chris reminded me that as a child, he would have loved three Christmas celebrations – the more, the merrier!  More candy, more fun, more presents. Three Christmases would be awesome! As teens, all the family get-togethers get repetitive and somewhat boring – you’d rather be hanging out with friends. As young married people, it starts to get tiring because the magic of it all is often replaced with the expectations. As you get older,  you start hosting the celebrations, corralling everybody together, shopping, planning and preparing for Christmas dinner.  On top of all that, there are so many other Christmas commitments, present making and buying, visiting, baking, decorating, cleaning, serving…it becomes a whirlwind of activity.

I just don’t seem to “do” Christmas very well. That’s the thing – the older I get, the more I don’t want to “do”.  I want to savor…I want to reflect…I want to slow down and stay clear of all the cultural entanglements this season thrusts upon me.

I start well and I pace myself. I’m organized and I prioritize people.  It’s all OK for a while but as December unfolds, the frenzy begins and it inevitably overtakes me emotionally every time – sometimes sooner, sometimes later but by the end of it all, I’m in tears.

I don’t know about you and your family but by the time our family finally gets together, we’re all tired. It seems like feelings get hurt faster, people are more sensitive, misunderstandings happen quicker and frustration can be a comment or an accidental bump away. The pressure is on to live up to the peaceful family experience but sometimes, all is not calm and all is not bright. Everybody has a Christmas face but not everybody has a happy and light heart about where he/she is at during this particular time of the year.

As a woman, mother, wife, sister and friend, I feel it all when those I love, are struggling during the Christmas season. It gets to me and to be honest, when December comes to an end, I feel a sense of relief. I find it easier to celebrate Jesus when it’s not Christmas. I just don’t know how to get to the other side of Christmas without tears.

Sometimes, it feels like all I can do is take a big breath and hold onto hope.  I pray, I savor those magical moments and I keep going to God, for perspective, strength and perseverance.

I am thankful that Christ is the reason for this season. I just wish I could see Him more clearly in December.

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