Christmas has always contained some amount of stress. Panic sprung as the wave washed over and traditions were left floating in the sea of life around me, left behind perhaps to be picked up next year. There’s the advent calendar that didn’t get attended to daily. There are the books never read, the movie we forgot to watch, the celebration we didn’t attend, the concert we wanted to go to… Some years all the right notes were despite whatever else was going on, but increasingly, giving up became the more logical option. Which made anything that DID happen that much more miraculous. For me, travel is crazy easy. Buy a ticket and poof, it all falls into place.
This year, with concerning health circumstances and relationships pushed to their maximum for a long time, and armed with the gift of airplane tickets and a place to stay… it was decided that just this one Christmas would look like an exit stage left from the stress, and permit time to perhaps mend physically and relationally, if it were possible.
Life is an immense gift from the great Iam. In addition to being as much of a good thing as possible to others, perhaps it pleases the creator, to see us loving and leaning in to the gift he has given. Being fearful of what might happen if…, or concerned so deeply about the importance of being present for others might be ways of living in fear or pride or a sense of self-importance.
Is the celebration of the birth of the perfect embodiment of love meant to be confined to a box of culturally obligated activities?
Didn’t He appear himself in an entirely unique way and establish our relationship to be strictly between he and I, in a way that both encompasses great freedom, but also a possibility of isolation in the world?
If there is no Christmas tree and the grandchildren aren’t presented one year, what might happen? If one holiday is taken to recuperate the 2 most important things : health and family from the fever of life… will I be marked as selfish and pursuing folly?
Unfortunately, there is a small voice that does tell me exactly that.
Tonight talking about the Christmas traditions we missed as while eating some amazingly fresh sushi. We do miss them. We only get to do them once a year. But the timing couldn’t be better because most of our Christmas stuff is lost anyway after moving this summer. ((sigh))
So this year…Hawaii. The climate is healing. The pace of life is rejuvenating. The pushing aside of obligation has created space for nourishing relationship and pursuing healthy habits. Everyone should have a chance to slow down and focus on the important things. Daily is the gratitude to have this chance.
I cherish Advent, that season of anticipation. The series of small delights that the holiday brings… but not the material part of it. The obligation to give the perfect thing to family we seldom speak to, the carnage it leaves on finances colliding with the happy space of giving generously. The travel involved in seeing beloved family at some point can become grueling. Still looking for a way to cling to the parts which are precious and turn down the noise on the parts that are heavy.
Today was so slow. The chillun bought gifts for friends with money they earned. All received journals to keep track of this “educational excursion”. A trip was planned to the planetarium and loose plans for Volcanoes and snorkeling were made. Youngest made paper chains to decorate for Christmas and of course we lounged about an played game after game of Uno.
Christmas will be a time of healing this year, if all goes well. Perhaps we will put back together some pieces in order to celebrate many advents to come.