If you asked my husband if I could get a little crazy around the holidays, he would nod his head inconspicuously and take a quick look around to make sure that I wasn't paying attention. It's true. I used to be a total basket case those early years in our marriage.
I spent nights lying in bed ruminating on details, as I anticipated having a house full of people. Shopping stressed me out (I could forget something). Small talk stressed me out ( I could say something wrong). The kids stressed me out (they got exhausted by the excitement and behaved like it). The amount of cleaning stressed me out (both before and after company). Money stressed me out (how much is too little or too much to spend?).
You really could just think of me as a young, modern version of the jolly Mrs. Kringle, herself...you're not buying that, right?
A few years ago, I got fed up. I morphed into one of those crazy ladies who began holiday prepping in September when things went on sale. I stocked up on wrapping paper and gift bags in January following Christmas mark downs. I made lists, called family earlier rather than later, and scheduled visits.
What happened was magic...I was given the gift of an expectation free December.
I refuse to go back to the way things used to be.
Any given Christmas, I am 100% sure that these things were happening:
Or this one...when I could tell everyone what the gummies tasted like on the house my 6-year-old pieced together with his grandpa in the family gingerbread competition...
Or the times we chased this guy around the house for absolutely no good reason other than to celebrate imagination...
Or the homemade cookies in front of the cheesy Hallmark movie...
Or the unrushed "tucking in" at night...
Or the sharing of well known family stories that never get old...well, most of the time...
Or the careful retelling of the most brilliant arrival of Love in human form the world has ever known...
Or the moment when the heart bursts in anticipation to give in response to the Gift given to us all...
Every, single year that passes, I am learning. I'm learning the pace of joyful preparation. I am learning to let go. I'm learning to have fun! I am learning to allow Christmas, Himself, to show me what it is to "become like the little children".
Now I have glitter in my hair and flour on my shirt, but I have been given the opportunity to sit at the feet of Jesus as He teaches me the art of relationship. Of priority. Of sitting contentedly in a moment that will last just a blink, but will be remembered for a lifetime.
I'm kissing expectation goodbye!
What are some of your very favorite memories or traditions?
And he said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 18:3)
Jesus said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. Only a few things are important, even just one. Mary has chosen the good thing. It (God's wisdom) will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)
Photo credits: Neha Deshmukh and Kathy Hillacre of Unsplash
M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy. Earns Crossfit participation trophies. Disaster cook. Enthusiastic wife. #Boymom. Clutches her faith, not her pearls.