Every year I tell myself I'm going to keep Christmas simple...not get swept up in the hurry & the busy & the hype. Every year I tell myself I'm going to keep it slow & focused....that I want to be sure me and my family remember why we are celebrating at all.
And, every year, I still find myself struggling for simple.
We don't do a lot of parties or gift exchanges or expensive gifts. We try to be reasonable about the money we do spend & not go into debt. I don't frequent malls or shopping centers, preferring to do most my shopping on line or at some smaller stores.
I try really hard to keep it simple.
And, yet I have a whirlwind of To Do Lists flying through my head. A list of Christmas cookies & candies I want to make & the list of teachers, friends, etc. I want to give them to. I have a to do list for my mom's group's Christmas brunch (I'm the hospitality person), and a to do list for my children's class parties at school (I'm not able to go in but am sending some things in). There's my personal list of everyday chores & tasks, and my list for Christmas presents yet to buy. There are Christmas picture cards ordered & received that now I need to address and send.
Baking, wrapping, planning, buying. Where did my quest for simplicity go?
And, in the midst of it all, I remember my extended family that is suffering with a grief I can't begin to imagine this season. I look ahead to Friday when funeral services will be held for the three family members whose lives ended in such a tragic way.
I have to rearrange my morning on Friday in order to attend the funeral. It's the morning of the Christmas brunch for my moms group. And, I'm in charge of several things related to the brunch. I'm stressing as I'm trying to figure out how to delegate & get as much done as I can ahead of time.
And, then I stop myself. So what? So what if I don't get it all done? Perspective pushes in at me from all sides....
- the loss of 3 lives in my own family, Rachel, Patti, and Melvin
- a young boy (whose grandmother I know) who had brain surgery this morning to remove a tumor
- the family in our area who lost 3 of their children in one tragic car accident last week
- the blogger whose blog has brought such joy & encouragement to me who is fighting her own battle with cancer
- friends whose Christmas will be simple not because of their own choosing but because the husband still has not been able to find employment despite months of job searching
This is why He came. Emmanuel - God With Us. He came to walk with us in our human condition. And, he brought Hope.
The Christmas celebration is a celebration of Hope.
I still love the trees and the decorations and the food and the gifts. I just don't want to make Christmas ALL about that. And, it's easy to do.
I guess keeping it simple can be as simple as stopping and remembering and meditating on what He has done. I don't want to forget.
(P.S. - If you haven't done so yet, you really should read this post called ' How in the World to get ready for Christmas' over at A Holy Experience. It spoke volumes to me.)