It’s Christmas morning! Makes me think of fresh, crisp layers of new snow. Sun peeking in the windows. And anxious little feet pattering down the hallway in new pajamas to catch a glimpse of what’s in their stockings.
However, the brown grass is bare – not a flake of snow for miles around. The anxious little feet have grown to lumbering teens who relish their sleep. Opening new pajamas on Christmas eve is not met with the excitement it once was. The baking is not done. The house is not cleaned to my standards. I didn’t find the perfect gift for everyone this year. In fact the shopping was tough. The lists were short. Either everyone has too expensive of taste or just maybe, like Oldest Son said, they are satisfied. I prefer to believe the latter.
This Christmas snuck up on me. I blame it on the lack of snow that usually kick starts my holiday preparations. The snow didn’t come…and neither did the kick-start! Until Friday when I took the day off work. That’s Friday – Christmas Eve eve. But as I was getting ready to hit the stores for the final push I began to think about a blog I read. A divorced mom whose kids are about to leave the nest. She shared her sadness over the change that was coming. And I thought of my Aunt who is spending another Christmas without her beloved husband. My father who will experience his first Christmas since him Mom passed away. About my sister-in-law who is nursing her mother back to health after a scary illness. I thought about all those, like my husband, who work crazy hours before the holidays. He has worked 14 hour days this week to make sure others have what they want for their perfect Christmas. And there are others who are at work this morning. None of these things are what we wish for. They are all less than perfect, just like the state of my house.
I don’t love that my Hubby’s days off will be spent in a car going from our house to each of the grandparents. I don’t love that we will spend another Christmas dinner in the car and have three Christmases in three towns in three days. 12 hours in the car and 1 night at each house is not my idea of fun. I don’t love that our parents spend the day alone. It makes me sad for them and sad for myself knowing that one day it will happen to me too. I don’t love that all of my family won’t be together for Christmas. It leaves a hole, an emptiness. But, I understand it just can’t always be. I don’t love that there are families spending their first Christmas without a child who lost his life this year. It is not right.
And it’s all real. That is what we have to work with. Christmas is no more perfect for us than Jesus birth was for Mary. I can’t imagine what I would have said to my husband if he told me I would have to ride that donkey for days, very pregnant, just to fill out a census. Well, actually, I can imagine some of the things I would have said, and you really don’t want to hear them.
I’m sure that nothing about Jesus birth was perfect. From the time Mary felt the first flutters, to when Joseph heard the news. From the rejection they got at each inn along the way to the meager stable where they eventually settled in. I wonder if Mary felt the same kind of frustration I do? When I know how I want things to be, but despite all my efforts I just can’t make it happen. Oh, I get there is no comparison in the magnitude of the two situations. But there is so much similarity.
I love to spend Christmas with all of my family. It’s about being with the people you love, sharing laughter. And yet Mary had no one but Joseph with her. No Mom there to tell her everything would be ok. They were all alone, in a strange land, without all the things they were used to. Without the security of the familiar. What lengths would they have gone to to be with those they loved that night?
Ultimately, they were not in control. Mary had to let go of her expectations of what should be. To let go of the plans she had, the images in her head. She chose to be in the moment with her baby, with Joseph, with a barn yard full of animals.
It’s ok for me to let go too. To let go of that perfect image of Christmas that I have in my head. To let go of the control. Stop trying to choreograph every moment. It’s time to change my focus. To be present with those who are right in front of me.
I will let go of aiming for perfect and aim for personal instead. I will aim to reach out to others and really connect. To be present in the moment. To let those I love know just how I feel. To cherish every crazy, exhausting, frustrating, messy moment with the ones I love. For we never know when it will be our last.
I will let go of perfect and aim for personal. My personal connection to God, my personal relationship with Jesus. Look for the path He is leading me down, not my own plans.
I will let go of perfect and get personal.
Merry Christmas to you. May you let go of perfect, be in the moment and find the personal in all you do today.
And now I hear big feet heading my way! Time to go see what’s in their stockings…