I’ve been very wrapped up with revisions on the book I’m writing, so the final draft will be ready for interior design work by the end of the month. It has been hard to find extra brain space for any new thoughts, so I’ll share something I’ve written that is an outtake from the book. May I? Thank you.
Is there Such a Thing as Too Much Christmas?
(from the Introduction to Living the Season Well-Helping Your Family Reclaim Christmas)
After a holiday visit to our son’s home celebrating with his wonderful family of seven, my soul stirred with some second thoughts about the Christmas we had just partaken in.
Let me be clear: there was laughter and joy (involving marshmallow pop guns, mostly), feasting, viewing favorite movies, and memorable moments with my grandkids. But the four-day visit left me somewhat shell-shocked. My body and brain were on overload and my grandkids, ages 5-14, seemed overwhelmed as well.
“What are we doing today, Nana?” sounded once or twice and I wondered at their questions. Inside I responded, “I’m worn out from doing, can’t we spend some time just being?”
After receiving an avalanche of gifts from relatives near and far, including a new television set from their doting Grandpa, the childrens’ letdown was rather keen. Each one had stashed their bounty, pulling out a new gift from time to time. But I noticed their engagement was with their older possessions mostly, the tried and true ones.
While it was never voiced out loud, the five-year-old’s eyes seemed to ask, “Is that all there is?” when it had been only 24 hours since Christmas morning. I think his busy/happy meter was in overdrive.
Maybe you can relate.
People often say, “Christmas isn’t supposed to be like this” (whatever your “this” is), or “Christmas is too commercialized,” and we nod our heads in agreement. But how does one counter that? Is there a way to reorient our culture’s thinking? Our own? I pondered these questions during the three hour drive home, formulating a response. My husband and I unloaded the car and rolled the suitcases inside. Before I was unpacked I went straight to my desk and scribbled out fifteen pages of notes. That’s when “Living the Season Well” was born.
What do I mean by “living well”? How about less holiday stress and more joy? Simplifying and savoring the season instead of rush, rush, rush to the next thing? While it’s true that “Jesus is the reason for the season,” as my 7-year-old grandson has often told me, the season is more than just one day. Maybe there’s a way to widen our worship into all the holy days, from the fourth Sunday before Christmas celebrating Advent (‘to come’ or ‘arrival’), all the way through Epiphany (‘to manifest’ or ‘show forth’) on January 6th.
Instead of concentrating our energy on all the presents, a look at the liturgical practices of the church year can help make room for God’s presence. Let’s dust off those traditions and get started.
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I would so appreciate your prayers as I get towards the finish line of sending this off to become a real book. Thank you!
You can read more about Living the Season Well here.