Merry flippin’ Christmas, y’all.
We’ve crammed as much holiday cheer as we possibly could into the three measly weeks between Thanksgiving and That Other Day that never fails to make me crazy. I’ve decided something. I have an opinion. Wanna hear it?
Christmas is stupid.
I’ve been here before, and I know it’s just a phase. This happens to me every few years—though I think it’s getting worse and more common as my kids get older…and busier.
Holiday concerts, recitals, performances, parties, “please send 24 juice boxes on Thursday,” “please send a wrapped 100-piece puzzle,” “please send 5 bottles of sprinkles,” “please note the 57 afterschool rehearsals,” driving, driving, driving, buying, wrapping, decorating, addressing, stamping, mailing, driving, driving, “please donate,” “please support,” “please attend.”
So, once again, apathy saves me. I simply don’t care. I’m in automaton mode, and I don’t give a rip. We pulled out the Christmas decorations after Thanksgiving, and I’m all meh—so we put up our tree, threw a couple of things around the family room, hung a wreath on the front door, and called it a day.
I’m not sending Christmas cards this year. I’ve done most all my shopping online. I didn’t bake a single holiday morsel. Not even the crack balls. I’m coasting towards Christmas Eve.
Not the jolliest of advent attitudes, to be sure. Whatevs, man. I’m pretty sure baby Jesus didn’t celebrate his birthday with 5 bottles of sprinkles and a 100 piece puzzle.
And you know what? I like it. I’m totally digging this. I think I might be on to something.
The week after Thanksgiving, you might have heard, we suffered through Icemageddon 2013. Dude. We were stuck inside for five stupid days because the roads were covered with inches of ice and Texas cannot deal. You would think having five days of isolation three weeks before Christmas would yield all kinds of productivity. You would think I would get all kinds of baking and decorating and merriment completed. You would think I would use this empty block of time writing, creating, crossing off items on my holiday to-do list.
Wrong. Five days of isolation equals me, on the couch, in my pajamas, like a big gooey blob of Oo-Bleck.
It was quite pathetic.
In the midst of so much holiday stupidity, this year is slightly different. I can do without all the pointless craziness, but I am truly looking forward to Christmas Eve with my family—my parents, brother, sis-in-law (who is everybody’s favorite), and my so-adorable-I-want-to-die niece and nephew—plus Michael and our kids.
We eat. We play Christmas charades. We eat some more. We laugh—a lot. We leisurely drink our post-dinner coffee for as long as possible while the kids squirm and whine and beg to open presents…just like my brother and I did celebrating Christmas Eve with our grandparents. My kids look forward to this night all year long.
I can’t wait.
And Christmas morning at our house: our kids in their new pajamas, giving and receiving gifts, watching them come out of their skin waiting for each of us to open what they purchased at the dollar store. Eating raspberry french toast, listening to Christmas music, laughing, cheering. Being together.
I love that.
And—true confession time—a few paragraphs up, I kinda lied. Or, as my eight year old calls it, stretched the truth. Which, according to an eight year old, is not technically a lie. Even though it is. Whatever it is, I have to confess that I did bake Christmas cookies. Actually, my kids and I did it together. And the next night, all five of us, as a family, sat around the kitchen table and slathered all manner of sugary goodness on top of these little bits of delightfulness.
I’m hoping sitting around the table decorating cookies counts as “family meal time” and puts us back in the black on that spreadsheet. I know All The Books recommend sitting together and eating dinner every night of the week, but most nights, we’re lucky to have three or four of us planted at the table for most of the meal before someone needs to be picked up or taken somewhere. And if nobody gets mad? THAT is a true Christmas miracle, my friends.
So sitting together decorating cookies made for some really good family bonding and hilarity. Score one for the Momaroo.
That’s the kind of holiday madness I can totally get behind. Everything else drowns out the quiet, thankful reflection I believe God intends. He instructs us to celebrate festivals of remembrance to remember. Remember our blessings. Remember what He has done. Remember how far He has brought us. And celebrate.
Christmas is about remembering the light in the darkness, the hope and mercy given to us, the promise of Emmanuel, God with us.
This is not a new thought. You read articles and blog posts, listen to sermons and radio bits every year reminding you to slow down, reflect, enjoy. I’m not telling you anything you haven’t heard before. But I hope you’ll join me in closing your eyes, taking a big, deep, cleansing breath. Lower your shoulders from your ears. Roll your neck.
That’s it. Good job. Now look around. See the chaos? See the madness? Yep, it’s still there. That’s okay. There is light breaking through. It’s there. Squint your eyes if you need to. We have so much to remember, so much to be thankful for.