christmas

I’m dreaming of a simple christmas…

Watching Santa greet kiddos at the mall, Zach wants to know: where’s the chimney for Santa to come down? He’s beginning to question the validity to all this stuff.

At the Santa swim time…does Santa really look like that in a bathing suit?

At the Santa skate….is he really that tall and trim just weeks before the big day?

Seeing ‘Saint Nicholas’ on the street…Santa looks too old.

Seeing Santa ring a bell by the Salvation Army kettle…He’s not jolly enough.

Apparently last Christmas Santa was missing a few pieces to Zach’s “happy” puzzle. Zach asked for an ‘automatic’ train. He got a boy Barbie doll (he was playing with his sisters a LOT. I thought he’d find it useful).

Perhaps this Christmas I’ll realize that bringing him to see Santa days before Christmas is untenable.

What if he asks for something unexpected, that I didn’t know he already wanted–that he’s come up with at the last minute?

Christmas can be anything but simple.

The most common question I’ve been asked lately is, ARE YOU READY YET?

Ready for what? I want to know…

I think they mean: have you scoured the malls for just the right gifts? Wrapped them neatly in red and green, tucked under the tree? Poured yourself out baking yummy concoctions that you know you shouldn’t be eating much of. Running wildly from one concert to the next? Unable to fill all your social obligations for fear someone won’t invite you to next year’s flurry of activity?

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I am not a scrooge. I enjoy this season thoroughly: it is full of overt signs of warmth and kindnesses. I love spoiling my kiddos. My dad taught me well how to do it. Christmas tree overflowing with prettily packaged Mattel purchases, stacks of Smurf comforters and cabbage patch dolls. I’ll pass down that tradition. It is fun watching your kids’ eyes brighten with magic. It doesn’t replace the daily shows of love: grace when they cracked an egg on the counter, patience when they’re bickering about who’s going first, or kisses before bed. But it sure is fun.

It’s Jesus’ birthday, mom. Zach tells me. Not Santa’s.

Huh? Despite the daily advent readings and discussions, somehow this tidbit wasn’t understood. Though in actual fact, Jesus likely wasn’t born December 25, this is the original reason for the season. The story of God’s gift in Jesus is why many of us choose to give generously. We can’t match what God has done, but some of us sure try…

Though we participate in the cultural celebration, of mall shopping, ordering on-line, baking lemon bars and gingerbread, practicing carols around the piano and even acting out plays, we try to resist the pressure of what we’re ‘supposed’ to do…what television, culture, Pinterest, tells us what would make a perfect Christmas…Instead, we just enjoy the little things, the day-to-day things, the things that happen because we really want to do them.

Where I am prepared to roast a turkey, my husband asks if we can simplify: turkey bacon and baked potatoes? Uh, no. Can’t do Christmas that simply.

Where I like shopping to fill the underside of the tree, my husband would rather buy one gift, and not place it under the tree…because he would rather not decorate a tree. You can’t accuse him of complicating Christmas.

I’ll certainly do better than that. But for Christmas day simplicity, I won’t make a meal on that day. We’ll happily be rewarming leftovers, so I can snuggle in my new robe, split open the binding on my new book and sit satisfied by the lit tree with a box of Sweet Georgia Browns.

This final week of pre-Christmas preparations, with ongoing renovations upstairs, Christmas preparations, AND studies, December has been a bit MUCH. Next year, I might rethink the ENTIRE month of December. The kids don’t know it yet (it’s 9:19), but we’re simplifying studies too. Presently, they are continuing in their math workbooks, but in minutes I’ll be pulling fun activities from Pinterest or whatever strikes our fancy…

The ultimate gift given to us, peace, is often hard to find during this time of year. Christmas can be anything but simple, but I’m aspiring, even working hard, to make it just that…

“Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen”. Anonymous

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