Each year I repost this because *I* need to read it.
But it seems to resonate with others, too.
(This is a repost from Christmas 2011, but I thought it bears repeating).
A friend of mine posted on Facebook that
he was not feeling very Christmas-y.
I'm not trying to discount his feelings. What I mean is,
"What makes you feel like it's Christmas?"
Many years ago, when my son who has autism was small, I had to adjust my views of Christmas. In my growing up, Christmas was about a big toy opening fest on Christmas Day. I thought I would bring that to my family tradition when I had kids. But my son at the time had no interest in toys. So shopping for Christmas presents was painful. It highlighted that the path we were traveling was a different one, and I didn't know the way. Sometimes I still feel that twinge when I walk the toy aisles. Going to Christmas events was either impossible or very hard when my son was young. My husband and I spent quite a few family Christmas parties off in another room sitting under a blanket with my son, who was completely overwhelmed I was sad during this time. And I felt lonely. This wasn't the expected path. I had to come to terms that the Christmas season for us was going to be different from what I had envisioned It wouldn't be a recreation of my childhood Christmases.
Yesterday I saw a friend at the grocery store who wasn't going to be able to do all the things that Christmas brings because of a busy work schedule. My suggestion to her?
Pick 5 Things to Do
Pick 5 things to do that if you don't do them it doesn't feel like Christmas. And forget the rest. That list will be different for everyone.
Here's our list:
- Get a Christmas tree and decorate it as a family.
- Listen to and sing Christmas carols. Pandora.com is great for this. Type in your favorite Christmas carol, your favorite artist and listen to lots of wonderful Christmas songs.
- Hang lights. This year we hung some colored outdoor lights that remind me of the giant ones that used to hang at Granddad's house when I was very small.
- Make cookies and/or cinnamon dough ornaments.
- Read the biblical Christmas story at Bible Gateway. Matthew 1:18-25; Matthew 2:1-12; Luke 1:26-38; Luke 2:1-20.
Of course, there's more. I didn't put presents in, and we do that. But you get the idea. Make a list that is YOUR list of what preparing for Christmas means. For some people, it means putting up 12 Christmas trees around their house. For others, it means volunteering.
Accept Your Un-Christmasy Feelings
Accept that in this year, you may feel like the tired shepherds away in the fields working the graveyard shift. You may feel like Joseph trying to find a place for his family to sleep in a strange city. Or like Mary, waiting and wondering what is to come. Perhaps you're the harried innkeeper trying to wedge in another paying customer. Or maybe you are like old Simeon and Anna, who had been waiting a long, long time for the birth of the promised Messiah.
Christmas still came for all of those people,
despite how they were feeling.
despite how they were feeling.