Merry Christmas! I know, the greeting's a little late. No doubt your holiday festivities have wrapped up and you're thinking about cleaning up the mess it left behind. But, who says we can't still be merry and remember the spirit of Christmas after December 25th?
If you know me at all, you know that I LOVE Christmas. Everything about it. The music. The food. The movies. The parties. The church programs. The shopping. The atmosphere. And I throw myself in it wholeheartedly, indulging my senses with the baking, decorating, and memory making. I don't wait around to start it. My tree goes up the day after Thanksgiving. By then I'm already listening to my favorite artists' Christmas albums. My DVR is set to record Hallmark movies. I'm practicing my song for Christmas Sunday. I've got a few packages already hidded away. The same routine every year. And I love it.
This year my Christmas was a little...different than usual. I look back and laugh at how scattered and unorganized it was. Seriously. Let me give you a little idea of what I mean.
It took me forever to get to my Christmas shopping. Now, I'm not one of those people who has all their Christmas bought within the first week of December. I am usually still finishing up my list a few days before Christmas. And I don't dread the idea of shopping or drag my feet. But this year I just didn't start when I normally would. No reason why, really. I just kept forgetting to start or other things would get in the way or I just wasn't in the mood. (Now, mind you, I didn't say I wasn't in the mood for Christmas. Just not in the mood to start my shopping.) I think I was well into December before I bought my first item. And I finished the last of my shopping on December 23rd. And on Christmas Eve, I was still wrapping and completing last minute touches to some of my projects.
And along with my shopping, I found that I didn't pull out my Christmas decor out right away. I had my tree up, decorated and ready as usual on the day after Thanksgiving. But aside from a few porcelain Christmas dolls, the rest of my stuff was still packed away. And on the day we planned to finally get it all out and decorate the house (the second Friday in December), my water pipes froze and burst, flooding my living room AND kitchen. You talk about a mess! All my furniture was pushed to one side of the room. My cute little Christmas tree was essentially shoved to a corner, surrounded by stuff. I couldn't even get to it to plug in the lights. And my carpet was soaked. My padding was soaked. My dish towels were soaked. Some food items were ruined. All my bath towels were scattered throughout the house, soaking up excess water. My fan was going nonstop trying to dry as much as it could reach as fast as possible. And due to the fan, the water, and the exposed concrete, my living room was cold!
To add to the list, I ended up sick with the flu for a couple days, my sister ended up missing several of our usual traditional events due to sickness, we MISSED Christmas Sunday due to weather, we got a late start on our Christmas baking, I had a classful of super-excited six-and-seven year olds that I had to rein in long enough to teach them something (anything!), and lots of other things that just seemed to keep cropping up this year.
And on top of all this, my sister and I opened up a business! (You talk about staying busy!) Trying to juggle all the business affairs of our little boutique was quite a new experience. And probably contributed to me being late in starting my own Christmas tasks.
So, to make a long story short, my Christmas calendar did not pan out quite the way it usually does. My Christmas activities did not unfold like they have in times past. There was a lot of things I had to put aside. My house did not get put back together until a few days before Christmas. Most of my decor never made it out of the the tote boxes. My shopping and gift exchanges were somewhat unfinished by the time the big day rolled around. With all the busyness of our store, I felt like I was spinning around in circles.
But in dealing with all this "stuff," I learned something about myself this year.
None of it mattered. I didn't get bogged down with what I didn't get to do, or stressed with what I had yet to finish. As my sister and I discussed one night (while we were pulling up our carpet to dry) the reason for the season was still the same. It was still the celebration of Jesus' birth, a reminder of why He came to earth. How much Christmas spirit I had did not depend on how many movies I was able to watch or how many presents I managed to purchase. It was never the "fluff" of Christmas that brought me such satisfaction and enjoyment during the holiday season. It was the joy of knowing Him.
Now, that may not seem like such a big deal to you, but to me it was. I ended up having a very merry Christmas indeed, despite all the hang-ups and hitches and hindrances. Because I have Him living in my heart. Because I could share this haphazard holiday with my family and friends. And because I rest in the knowledge that I am...
In His Grip!