Apparently the Christmas rush is starting to get to me, because I have missed a few days of posting lately. It's easy to let that happen in December. I keep finding myself tempted to get stressed out about all the seasonal activities added onto our already overloaded schedule. And yet I love Christmas, and I want to do it all. It's not that I feel guilty if I don't get to enjoy my favorite holiday traditions: going to the singalong Messiah, driving around looking at lights and drinking hot chocolate, finishing up all my homemade Christmas gifts for friends and family, having the girls' friends over to decorate cookies, baking with the kids, making Christmas ornaments. . . . I feel deprived if I don't get to do all those things.
This article discusses the possibility of enjoying Christmas the secular holiday and having a separate "Jesus Day" rather than trying to mix the two. I think in the end that probably just looks like enjoying both the gift-giving and more secular aspects of Christmas and the Advent meditation rather than pushing the secular stuff away. In other words, I think that's what I do. I love Christmas movies and Frank Sinatra singing "White Christmas." I love the mall decorations and buying a new ornament each year. But I don't let that overshadow Advent readings, nativity sets, and church services. I like the idea that even people who deny the existence of God unknowingly get in on the celebration of Jesus' birth. As the Creator, he certainly deserves a big to-do over his birthday.
As Christmas approaches, I find the to-do list getting longer and my patience getting shorter. And yet the one gift I want to give my children this Christmas (and every day) is a cheerful mother. And so I'm going to remind myself when my time and temper are getting short to take a breath and give them the kind of Christmas I want them to be able to look back on with happy memories. Not so packed full of activities that we're all left breathless, but full of fun. Full of music and baking and quiet moments reading about Jesus' birth around the tree. Full of traditions and warmth and laughter. Full of friends and family. And most of all, full of Jesus.