I remember in seasons past the activities that filled my days leading up to Christmas. I actually got started with the shopping sometime in October. As December 25 got closer, my days became profoundly more hectic. There was the one coveted toy that you couldn’t find, the 10 hour baking day, the wrapping of tons of gifts, presents to distribute, parties to attend, decorating the house, getting outfits for the kids to wear for family gatherings and Christmas eve church services, visiting Santa, finding cute Christmas pj’s for the kids to wear in Christmas morning pics, making sure that the kids had equal number of presents under the tree, sending out Christmas cards, attending school holiday programs, grocery shopping for Christmas dinner, last minute assembly of Santa gifts…….. I was worn out by the time Christmas day actually arrived. I remember one Christmas eve sitting on the floor of my closet assembling a Barbie van that had about 1,000 (slight exaggeration) tiny stickers that had to be attached. I finished it at about 4:00 am. I guess that’s why God gives us children while we are young. I don’t know how I juggled it all. I’m not complaining though. I’d do it the same way all over again. I loved seeing the delighted faces of my kids on Christmas morning. And I have to admit that I put the pressure on myself to make it all perfect each year. It was exhausting but worth it.
Our family is now quite small and the youngest person is my 19 year old daughter. I have come to appreciate the season a bit differently. There are no small children to awaken on Christmas morning and tell that Santa has been here. I don’t have to get into the hustle of shopping and preparing like I used to. And let’s face it, my kids would be horrified if I bought them Christmas pj’s to wear.
In my family, we have all agreed to not exchange gifts this year. We are each in places in our lives where this makes the most sense. While I have embraced this decision and resisted the urge to get just a little something (like some cute pj’s) for my kids, it seems so strange. I feel compelled to be doing something to prepare for Christmas.
Our plans are for the family to gather and prepare a Christmas meal together. How simple is that? We are just spending the day together and enjoying each other’s company. No stress, no mess, no worries about if they like the gifts or if it fits, and no saving receipts. Only time spent together. Beautiful!
I certainly don’t think we have started a new tradition. I know that there will be years ahead with grandchildren to spoil and I look forward to that. But for now, I am going to enjoy the peace that I am experiencing during this Christmas season.
The magic of Christmas is not in the presents but in His presence.
It is my wish that God bless each of you with peace and joy this Christmas and all the year through.