It has happened again. Despite holding onto my Christmas spirit, teeth clenched; despite my lists and budgeting of time; despite the sickeningly sweet glaze of holiday music I smeared on all of my mundane tasks; despite my best laid plans, I have become exhausted and overwhelmed.
My frustration sits just below my skin with a heat and itch that boil with the mounting tension and thinning of time. There have been moments when I've contemplated packing away the decorations, giving everything a good dusting, and calling the whole thing off. Christmas has been canceled!
My kids wanted cell phones and i pods and nine hundred dollar sweat shirts from Aber.crombie and (as recently as yesterday) a pink Vespa. Are you freaking kidding me?
We've lost it.
Whatever earnest but pale Meaning of Christmas was holding on for dear life in this house has all but evaporated. My children know the story of Jesus: born in a stable, wrapped in swaddling clothes, three men visiting beneath a brilliant star, Heavenly Hosts Heralding His arrival. We know the story, but have completely missed the application.
The gift of a Father...heart breaking, knowing it's the right thing.
The desparation of a mother, thankful to have lived through the night, bleeding, exhausted, having given birth in a barn in the dirt. Her baby wrapped in the cloth used to clean the animals. Terrified to consider the future.
Joseph, likely wondering, Where do I fit in this story?
And a baby...the fate of humanity resting on the fragile shoulders of a carpenter's son.
The feeling and beauty of Christmas is circling the drain in my neck of the woods, and I am considering donating a couple dozen beautifully wrapped Christmas gifts, so that we wake to the glorious gift of family and love on Christmas morning. We won't be distracted with all of the shiny plastic and blinking lights and mountains of crumpled gift wrap. There would be no arguments over whether or not one's sister will EVER be allowed to lay a finger on one's new sweater. There would be no scrounging for receipts needed to return pants that are 2 sizes too small or woefully out of fashion. There would be only five souls gathered in a room over hot cocoa and sticky buns, reading stories of selflessness and generosity and love that bridges the deepest chasms of time and hurt.
My grapevine reindeer have stood ankle deep in the snow for two weeks, now. Stalwart. Elegant. Graceful. And in their element. I will take a page from their book. And I will let peace blanket this house when it comes, like today, as I am writing this post, and pray for our own host of angels to serenade...