Friday, December 19, 2008

A Subdued Christmas

I love Christmas and all the traditions and festivities of this season. I adore driving around at night looking at houses decked out in Christmas lights. I am a baking fiend who delights in churning out dozens of our favorite Christmas cookies and breads, and packaging some of them up for friends and neighbors. A big, beautiful Christmas tree covered with the same ornaments year after year gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling, and an evergreen wreath tied with a big red bow hanging on the door says "welcome". Christmas music playing on the stereo - whether the Mormon Tabernacle Choir or Andy Williams or Amy Grant or Manheim Steamroller - is simply heavenly. We have lived in Massachusetts, Georgia, south Florida, Minnesota, and North Carolina - so we have had deep snow, warm sunshine and just about everything in between on Christmas, and it is all good. The presents actually take a back seat to my other favorite parts of the Christmas season - I do not like shopping and it is a bit stressful to try to squeeze extra dollars out of an already strained budget. But it IS nice when people think to get something special just for you, and likewise I love to choose special gifts for the people I love.

For some reason Christmas feels strange this year. I have had a hard time getting excited, and I don't really know why. We have no tree this year, no Christmas lights on the house, no wreath on the door, and I've only made 2 batches of cookies.
There are several reasons... money, my husband's sore back, a lot of basketball games, not as many helpers... I guess it's not a terrible thing to simplify.I do have a pretty red tablecloth on the dining room table, and a beautiful Poinsettia plant and nativity set on my coffee table, and holiday pillows on the sofa. I have a small pile of wrapped packages in my bedroom. This has been an emotional year for me, and there have been a lot of changes... and there are surely many more to come! Disappointment has been a frequent companion.

I need to find my joy, which I KNOW does not lie in the decorations or the traditions of the holiday. Nor does it lie in the external circumstances of my life, nor in the actions or attitudes of people around me, nor in my successes or failures. I have six days ... six days to fall to my knees and adore the Christ child in the manger, and let the wonder and eternal impact of that simple event flood my heart and rock my world. And then it truly will be a blessed Christmas.


The Freeland Family said...

I know the feeling. With our trip to TX, we just put up our 2ft tree on top of the piano. Now that we are here, it has been bittersweet because our memories always end up with Daddy. But I'm reminded again that while family and traditions are important, they are not the REASON for CHRISTmas. And just you have less to clean after the new year. :)

Shaw6pak said...

Beth, You are such an encourager to me and many others. I am sorry you are feeling down. I will be praying for you the same words you have encouraged me with. Merry Christmas. ~~~Kristi

Eve said...

Kristi took the words out of my mouth. I imagine the excitement will come all in one punch this year. You'll be at your sister's coffee shop with all your family around and you will feel like a contented 10 year old and a proud mama all at the same time! :)

Renee said...

Beth, you are and have always been such a blessing, I so appreciate your honesty and vulnerability. This year I have been more homesick for heaven than ever before. While most of my friends and family are focused on more stuff and more activity, I just want more of HIM. Thanks for being so real. Your true Joy is found in Him, like you said in your post. HE IS ENOUGH.

Love ya,

Becky said...

Hey Beth,
Praying for you and yours as you transition this year, and also praying for you to be able to ponder all your moments in your heart. A think about that verse that talks about how Mary did that and I think I understand what that means now. Sometimes I just sit back and take everything in and I am quiet...and reflective. Your are in my thoughts as you ponder all of happenings of this season and store them away... Merry Christmas friend.