The holidays can mean different things to different people.
To the young child it may mean that their parents will dress them up and drag them all around town, and if they have been a good little boy or girl this year they might have a Hot Wheels wall track or a pink LeapPad Explorer waiting for them under the tree on Christmas morning, Santa willing.
To the young couple it means spending lots of time with each other’s relatives, usually with excess stress and excess food and excess alcohol, all the while making whispered promises to each other that their lives will never, ever resemble those with whom they share those inextricable genetic links.
To the parents of teenagers it may mean being able to enjoy the Christmas Eve church service without (as much) fear that it might be their child who drops the taper candle during the congregation’s rendition of “Silent Night,” thus setting a pew or a hymnal or an old lady’s wig on fire.
To the grandparents it may mean a renewed spirit, and seemingly new eyes through which they get to watch the next generation experience the innocence and unguarded joy of believing in flying animals and toy workshops and true, untainted Christmas magic.
I have been running around for the past month like a crazed (yes, even more than usual) lunatic, slowly but surely crossing things off my To-Do lists, which were constantly being extended and amended and created anew. I have been planning and shopping and wrapping and baking and decorating. Sheepdog has been traveling for work all month, right up until he flew home from California on the 22nd. The kids have all participated in their classroom parties and team celebrations and gift exchanges. Then yesterday the seven of us piled into the car and drove well over five hundred miles to be with Grandma and Grandpa in West Virginia. We are all still swirling around, caught up in the glorious enchantment that reaches its pinnacle tomorrow morning.
This afternoon we will finally slow down as we come together to spend time with even more family. Tonight we will watch a reenactment of the birth of Jesus at a family friendly church service in town. Finally, when the kids are just about to burst with anticipation, Sheepdog will read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and everyone will eventually fall into bed.
In theory, Christmas is supposed to be about simplicity. It is about Jesus being born in a stable. You don’t get much more unelaborate than that.
In reality, Christmas is complicated and stressful and expensive and anxiety-ridden, especially in the weeks and days leading up to it. But, if you are really lucky, you will also get to experience those moments of calm and peace and love and true magic that make Christmas such a wonderful time of the year.
Here’s to you and yours. May your weekend be filled with the people and things that make you happy, even amidst the crazy. Make sure that you take the time to stop and smell the Christmas cookies. Joy to the World!