I don't know about you, but each year, I idealize how I'm going to embrace slow, intentional living, wrapping my gifts with twine and butcher's paper, spending 1 afternoon a week making christmas cookies to take to our neighbors, decorating our entire home for this nostalgic holiday season, and most importantly, taking time to read through and meditate on advent passages each morning, as I drink a steaming cup of coffee with a sugar cookie.
I don't know WHY I do this to myself though! I love designing a room, but I hate decorating-weird, right? I love eating cookies, but I hate baking. (little-known fact: for years, I taught "cooking for kids" courses each summer. There was an entire course on cookies and the first thing I did was remove sugar cookies from the curriculum. Best.decision.ever.)
I didn't even wrap Stephen's gifts because I was so obsessed with surprising him that I hid them...and forgot about them. Letsbereal, I just finished ordering Christmas gifts this morning for the rest of the fam! And try as I might, I often let the rush of the end of the season take over the time I set aside for an advent Bible study.
But as I finished weddings, client print orders, social media posts, computer problems, and perpetually scrambling to make life feel "christmassy," like it did when I grew up, I realized this important reality:
Christmas isn't about "feeling Christmassy." It never has been. It's about giving love to others as Christ did when he came. If I can do that, I'll build our own set of Christmas memories that grow sweeter each year.
Once I realized my frantic attempts to make life feel nostalgic weren't really going to give me the satisfaction I wanted, I calmed down. And I felt joy in giving Stephen a gift I carefully saved for and VERY carefully hid.
We celebrated our Christmas this past weekend and as we sat on the floor, exchanging gifts and warding off a super-annoying puppy who had his nose in EVERYTHING, I felt it. That love that I'd been praying for. That presence that allowed me to focus on how very blessed we were, and that thoughtfulness that empowered me to put Stephen ahead of myself.
And I was truly happy this Christmas. I hope you find that happiness as well!