Friday, December 27, 2013

Finding the Christmas Spirit

In my admirable quest to make this Christmas, like all previous Christmases, the Best Christmas Ever, I think I may have all the hustle and bustle. Though well-intended, in my effort to bring in the Christmas spirit, I think I got so caught up in the hot-chocolate drinking, carol singing, house decorating, Santa visiting, gift shopping, light viewing, present wrapping, and merry making that I became too busy to feel the spirit at all. Don't get me wrong, I loved every moment of spending time together as a family, building traditions, and creating memories, but, at least this year, I think our festivities were so plentiful that some of the special-ness was lacking. As Christmas neared, I felt a little disappointed that I didn't feel that giddy, warm *magic* in my heart. Our Christmas Eve couldn't have been any better--Joey helped Nana Z finish the last of the baking, we ate like kings at our own five-star buffet, we played family games, we read Christmas stories, the kids performed Christmas songs in a short program, we opened Christmas jammies, we left out a plate of cookies for Santa, and we watched a video of the Nativity--but I still went to bed that night feeling a little hollow. The next morning (if you call 5:40 morning), after the gift-opening frenzy was over and the kids were contentedly building their new Lego sets, I felt a fullness in my heart. No, it didn't have anything to do with those things that came wrapped inside boxes. The warmth in my heart was the feeling I felt as I surveyed this life that is mine...the little smiling babe in my arms, the husband who patiently helped the boys construct their Lego sets for HOURS, the miracle and joy that Benny brings me every day, the learning and growth I feel in my role as the mother of my five sons, the beauty of a snow-covered earth, the lovely home that provides our family with a place to put down our roots, and countless other blessings. I felt a little silly for thinking that I could manufacture the Christmas spirit by making handmade Christmas cards or decorating gingerbread houses. The Christmas spirit had been there all along, in my own home, in my own family, and in my own heart all along, but I had become too distracted with really well-meaning activities to feel it. Perhaps it was because the shepherds were attentive, in-tune, and receptive to promptings of the spirit that they followed the star to find the babe Jesus at the Inn. Metaphorically, would I have been too busy baking cookies to recognize the signs of His birth? Hank and Max repeatedly exclaimed, "this is the best Christmas ever!" While the celebrations and family activities were memorable, what made THIS the best Christmas ever (until next year) for me, was that single moment when I felt in my heart that clarity that all that I am, all that I have, is because of that night, a long time ago, when a perfect baby boy, even Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, was born.

No comments: