Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas…
Josh Groban sings this over my wireless speaker as I am writing this morning in the peace and quiet of a sleeping home.
I used to love Christmas many years ago.
Being excited about this holiday as a small child was easy. I played my part beautifully. All I did was show up for the big event. My pyjama bottom was plunked down on the living room floor, and my parents handed us our gifts. We tinkered with our new treasures throughout the day and ate turkey with all the fixings at dinner time.
This week I went to a Christmas tea for women at Bethel Bible Chapel. As I walked into the room, the scene was enchanting. The sanctuary had been transformed from rows of chairs to about twenty-five round tables with eight chairs at each. Red and green centrepieces decorated each table and the stage had turned into a winter park, with about twenty Christmas trees and a wooden bench. It was beautiful.
We sang carols, and a comical video was shown on being thankful for all we have at Christmas:
Then Mickey, who happens to be a friend of my mother’s, sat up on the stage on the park bench. Her, Jen and Amanda, did a skit on the busyness surrounding Christmas and how it can steal our joy.
It brought back memories…
December would always start with a mountain of anxiety, or maybe it began in November. I would start shopping for the forty people we bought presents for. With large families on both mine and Vance’s side, I was buying for all our siblings, nieces, nephews, and some friends and other relatives too.
The stockings would need to be stuffed. This was about twenty small gifts for our five kids. So, one hundred items. I wrapped the forty presents, plus the four each of our five kids received. I made sure to buy gifts for the needy also. I filled our freezer with Christmas baking.
Our oldest son, Kyle, had been our gift one year. God had blessed us with a baby precisely seven days before Christmas. We celebrated his birthday each year with a sleigh ride with friends and family the week before the holiday. Since he had autism, he didn’t have friends to invite to his party so we would celebrate with Kyle.
Christmas week, we usually had seven events in seven days. I brought food to all those gatherings, plus a grumpy spirit on the inside… I was Santa without the Ho Ho Ho.
I had lost my joy during the holidays.
As Mickey encouraged the women in the play to find joy in Christmas, I realized over the past five years I was slowly getting my Christmas happiness back. You may be wondering how that happened?
If you’ve seen the movie, Christmas with the Kranks, you will remember Luther convinces his wife Nora to quit Christmas one year, when their only child, Blair, leaves home to join the Peace Corps. If she wasn’t there, why celebrate? They decided to go on a warm, tropical vacation instead.
The first time I saw the movie, about five years ago, I thought, “What a great idea, quitting Christmas and going away on vacation!”
One year I finally woke up and realized there had to be a better way. I decided to put away the Christmas that the world had taught me to have. Somehow I had been convinced if I emptied our bank account, bought everyone gifts ( because giving is good) especially at the busiest time of year… our friends and family would be happy.
My children noticed I was dreading Christmas year after year. Just that word brought on anxiety. It had lost its meaning in my life.
If Mama’s not happy, ain’t no one happy: I wanted to quit Christmas, and I needed my joy back.
What did I do?
I stopped buying presents for all our relatives and friends. The stockings were no longer stuffed. I also quit trying to buy gifts for all the needy people I felt guilty about. The needy were always with us, and I could give generously to them throughout the year instead of piling it all into one week in December.
Decorations were simplified. This year our family has grown again, and we decided to fill our living room with enough furniture for all of us to sit on while we spend time together. Which squeezed out space for our extra large, magnificent, fresh Christmas tree.
We bought a small, four-foot tree that lights up and fits on a side table. I started playing Christmas music in November. The girls and I went to Christmas teas with my mom and friends in late November and early December. I bought the kids each one gift online.
My daughters came over and baked cookies.
Christmas became simple, and I found my joy again.
I wanted Thanksgiving at Christmas: A family gathered together, time with friends, good food, music to celebrate and a thankful heart.
You might be able to relate to this grumpy mother who had lost her Christmas joy. Are you feel guilty too? Somehow you believe your children or family need mounds of presents and cookies?
You will be running non-stop for the next three weeks. Maybe you’re dreading Christmas…there is hope.
You can give your family the gift that surpasses most gifts. A joyful mother who loves Christmas not for all the fixings, but for the simplicity of it. A mother who has time to spend with her children and reflect on Christ’s birth. In the busyness of the season, we can quickly forget why we celebrated in the first place.
A baby born. A Saviour was given.
There were no trees, lights, cookies, concerts or stockings that very first Christmas. Just a baby. Love in it’s purest form. A precious gift to all.
God wants to give you the gift of peace as you celebrate Jesus birth with a joyful heart.
If Mama isn’t happy: ain’t no one happy.
Find peace this Christmas. Discover the simplicity of Christ’s Birth and the truth he was meant to bring you. There may be parts of your Christmas holidays that you realize you really don’t need anymore or enjoy. Find the ones that say the most to you and your family.
Celebrate with them.
Friends. Children. Puppies. Grandbabies. Kittens. Grandparents. Family.
Jesus, our Salvation.
Your children will remember the year Mama found her joy again.
Have yourself a merry little Christmas💗
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 1:8-9 NIV
This really spoke to me. I also found myself filled with anxiety at the thought of Christmas. I expressed my feelings to my husband, who excitedly volunteered to do all the shopping! I also allowed my nine year old to bake our traditional cookies without the worry of how they’d turn out or the mess involved in the making. I too feel more joy in the season this year and look forward to celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus 🙂
Jenna, what a wonderful family you have to help you find the joy. I’m happy to hear I’m not the only mom who felt this way. Have a Merry Christmas!