It’s starting. The feeling of not having control over my family’s schedule, obligations, and seasonal joys.
My sense of seasonal overwhelm does not come from a desire to “do it all,” or a sense of obligation to buy stuff, or even to have “the best Christmas ever.” No, it comes from outside sources. The mandatory senior photo session (due by January). The school Christmas concerts, the promised incentive dinner for all As, and the school science fair days apart. And there’s the back-to-back church ushering and acolyting scheduled by others for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning — really? A bar mitzvah and a company Christmas party on the same day — oy. Combine with the unknown work schedule of the teenager, and shake well. A recipe for disaster.
Oh, my, why does this happen every year? All these groups believe their event or issue is the most important part of our lives. (Except the incentive dinner, which we made a part of our lives.) The words, “Not this year,” are ringing again, along with the Christmas bells. We set aside what we’d really like to be concentrating on (Advent) because of obligations thrust at us. It’s unfortunate that we cannot cut out most of the outside things coming down the pipe. But every year?!
I’m choosing to take coffee breaks (decaffienated, flavored, and sweetened with sucralose) and prayer breaks more often. I’m doing a little each day with regard to Christmas preparations, rather than rushing to decorate and make cookies. (Significantly, I am not preparing 800 cookies for the music department this year, either.) I’m getting more sleep. I’m chillin’.
And yet, a glance at the calendar shows me that very few days will be calm in December. Is this how it was leading up to God sending his Son to earth? Tumult among the humans, a sense of chaos, seemingly no personal choices? I can use this reminder every year, I guess, that I need the Christ child, that it’s time, that Christmas can’t come too soon.
So just for a few moments, “Be still and know that I Am God.” Okay. Dinner can wait, ornaments can wait, Christmas cards can wait. It’s much more beneficial to refocus and know that all this “stuff” is leading up to something better. Amen.