Who can deny the beauty of the Christmas season?
When holly berries ripen and snow gently rests on leaves,...
when lights cast aside darkness in dazzling displays,...
when homemade treats are served on silver rimmed platters,...
and seasonal scents fill the house.
We breathe in and see the beauty of Christmas. Truly, it is a time like none other. We visit with family and friends more. We give more.
And then it happens.
We try harder.
We do more.
We aim for a higher standard.
Instead of resting in the beauty of Christmas, we make Christmas complicated.
It happens to me instantly. I forget about making fun, family memories and focus on creating a perfect day. Instead of helping them feel loved with a simple, special treat, I search high and low to deliver the ultimate surprise. Sometimes, I even contemplate a quest for a more perfect surprise. Why am I so quick to forget the perfect gift, the reason for the season.
This season, I am aiming to keep Christmas simple.
- replaced old wreath ribbon with a slightly mismatching colored ribbon which we had on hand instead of searching for the perfect match. But I loved the colorful results!
- served homemade by my mom (thank you!) cookies during a family watching of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. We watched it on network TV, because I didn't request it early enough from the library, and now we are too far down the list to get it before Christmas. Our viewing had 18 commercials per segment; we counted. But we saw a family favorite together!
- lit those cranberry colored candles each Sunday around our Advent wreath, because we decided last year we would use them for two years. But we remember Jesus' birth and celebrate His first coming!
- handed Jesse Tree ornaments from one set which only slightly match the book we are using this year to the children to hang. But we learn more about the events which led to His first coming!
- not return the game we got our youngest in exchange for a light saber which he d-e-s-p-e-r-a-t-e-l-y wants, which completely slipped my mind and carefully crafted list when buying his gifts. Yes, I forgot to buy the one thing he really wants and hopes he's getting. Because I know that the gifts are only a thing.
- make a few more gifts with supplies we have on hand, but I won't brave the mall or scour the Internet for anything else. Because I know the point is to show love not opulence.
- look for perfect Christmas memories in the imperfect moments. Because I want to remember the times with family and friends.
- try to remember festive fun and simple ideas to do when I want to go overboard. Because the heart of the service is showing love not perfection.
- order out for our family's Christmas dinner instead of spending the bulk of the day in the kitchen. Because really they just want time with me not culinary perfection.
- remember the good gifts, better gifts, and the best gift. Because giving to others and receiving God's gifts are better than any store bought item.
- keep returning to these words, like I do every year. Because I need to remind myself when I want to strive harder for a more perfect Christmas.
And, I'm looking forward to celebrating the rest of the season with our family and friends without the expectations, perfection pressure, and complications.
Striving for simple,