Friday, December 25, 2009

Great Expectations

When you think of Christmas, what pops into your head? Visions of sugar plums? Romantic notions of sleigh rides? Now that may be a bit out dated, along with caroling or rides on a toboggan. But most of us have our traditions, things we like to do that make Christmas special. We have it all mapped out in our heads.

I enjoy seeing the Christmas lights, and was so pleased this year to see so many more up. We had the benefit of an unseasonably warm November, and no longer the fear of impossible electric bills, so many people were out on Thanksgiving weekend, in our sultry 40 some degree weather, putting up lights. My heart rejoiced. It's truly adds an element of festiveness to the air.

Some enjoy holiday parties, decorating the tree, the shop til you drop, making cookies with the kids, small town festivities, kids' Christmas programs, Christmas cards, hot cocoa, cozying up in front of the fireplace, snow, snow men, snow angels, snow balls. Of coarse we can't forget the reason for the season with candle lit services, advent calendars, manger scenes and Christmas carols. Each person, each family, old or new, thinks, remembers, plans, anticipates life in this season based on these things. It's all so romantic in our minds, isn't it? All glowy and warm. Ahhhh...

(insert screeching car noises here)

Welcome to my Christmas 2009.

The shopping complicated by four young souls, the work schedules, the weather, the... the list goes on.

Our great expectations sometimes kill our joy. Especially if you're a perfectionist or an idealist. Unlike myself, of coarse. Ahem. When I was a kid, I always felt the burden of Christmas, the weight of expectations. Call it the oldest child syndrome (nothing to do with you, mom). Wanting to make sure everyone was taken care of, attemping to ward off disappointment or snaffoos. An inflated sense of responsibility. I have (sort of) moved past that and since found the joy in the purpose of the season. But sometimes those expectations, on Christmas, birthdays, or the many other times we get notions in our head, threaten to ruin it all for me. It is then that I gotta get a GRIP on myself, take a deep breath, and lay it all down. I have to learn to accept what is, roll with the punches, go with the flow, come what may. I accept defeat, do what I can, and the rest, fugeddaboutit. Ain't no thang.

So Blizzard of Christmas 2009, phooey on you. Lack of energy and patience, sooorryyyy. I almost let you bury me in drearyness and snow, but I was saved by The Clash (thank you James on FB) (Should I stay or should I go now? If I go there will be trouble. An’ if I stay it will be double. So come on and let me know! Should I stay or should I go?) (please tell me you know that one.) I had yelled at my kids, missed out on the Christmas eve service, didn't get to spend the Eve with my King Kong, and left a house so dirty the rats would have feasted well should they have come. Thieves would have thought our house had already been ransacked, and left. Nevertheless, I got myself (and monkeys) packed up, out the door, and on the road to a new plan. I had a little cry, finished (most of) my shopping at 5:54 pm (Walmart closed at 6), apologized to my kids, had a glass of wine, and had a sleep over at my parents' house. I had a good Christmas anyway, albeit not according to plan. When I woke up, the snow was still there, my hubs was too, the kids slept in til 9, and it was still the day of the birth of My King and Saviour, whom subsequently also died for me.  That is the part we so easily lose sight of. I so easily lose sight of.

Next year I vow to do better. Not to shop earlier or plan ahead better. Not to make foolproof plans and make sure vacation days are taken. Nope. Instead I hope to remember more a baby that was born. In a nowhere place, with nothing but love and adoration. A baby who brought hope and peace and forgiveness to the world is what I should spend my time thinking on, and teaching my monkeys about. Not the best gifts or the best cookies or the most memorable of holiday activities. It would be nice to get the tree decorated, but, eh, whatever.

Joy to the World, the Lord has come! Let me recieve her King; Let my heart prepare Him room, and Heaven and nature sing.


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