Reflections on Christmas 2015

Guilt, confusion, relief, determination.  These are a few of the emotions I am wrestling with after this Christmas.  Let’s break them down.

1. Guilt.  How did I spend so much money?  By mid-November, the kids’ single gifts were purchased, and by mid-December, my Shutterfly gifts were completed.  But, somewhere in between, I spent double what I budgeted on people and things I hadn’t anticipated.  There are just so many people I want to bless over the holidays- Sunday School teachers, my own Sunday School class, additional family and friends.

Then, there were the supplies.  I spent the entire wrapping session thinking how odd it was that I had so few labels and bows and ribbons.  After 90% of the wrapping was done, I ventured up to the attic for something and saw “the box.” You know, the one with the ornament I bought for my son last year on clearance, the adorable doggy wrapping paper my youngest would have loved, the plethora of labels, and other trimmings.  Ugh.  Next year . . .

2. Confusion.  How did the spending get so out of control?  Why did I end up spending the last days before Christmas running in and out of store after store, picking up last minute items?  For who?  For what?  I was determined to have a minimalist Christmas:  less baking, one present per child, more time at home reading to the kids and doing simple crafts or Christmas activities.

Instead, I overbought, stressed out over details, baked and gave away, then baked again and gave away, then scrambled to throw something meager together for the neighbors because I had nothing left to give.  I read only a small fraction of the myriad, wonderful Christmas books we had both accumulated and borrowed from the library.  We did manage to make it through a fabulous advent book called Jotham’s Journey, though, and we completed our Jesse Tree, both a couple of days after Christmas.  Still, I feel like I got lost in the busyness and business of Christmas, which confuses and saddens me.

3.  Relief.  Christmas ended up being wonderful despite my regrets.  I was able to perform in our Christmas Eve play at church, which was so much fun and ministered to many who attended.  Then, Christmas Day came, and the kids loved their few gifts, playing a board game (Catan) they received for much of the day.  My mother joined us, and we shared a non-Christmas-y meal of scalloped potatoes and ham, since my turkey had not thawed out, and I was too tired to deal with it.  We ate heartily with minimal effort on my part, enjoyed our visit, and ended the evening watching The Wilderness Family, a favorite movie of the kids’.  Plus, my best friend delivered a set of twins that night, and they all were healthy and happy, which brought joy and relief to me, as well.

4. Determination. I am determined not to fall prey to commercial expectations next year.  I am determined to anticipate what I feel is necessary to ensure a happy holiday for all those I love and care for, and not scramble for the un-essentials at the last minute.  I am determined to collaborate more with my husband instead of being a one-woman show of Christmas spirit.  I am determined to simplify the celebration even further and definitely spend less- a lot less.

Most importantly, I am determined to intentionally set aside time to be with Jesus through prayer, contemplation, and reading of His Word, instead of rushing by Him or hastily catching up on our advent devotional after a few days’ absence.  I feel as though I lost Jesus instead of found Him this Christmas season, even though He was here for me the whole time.

How was your Christmas?  Would you change anything?  What parts did you love the most?

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