Well, it's that time of year again ... that time when expectations (theirs) are high and performance (mine) is low. That time when I eagerly make specialty hot chocolate and the kids immediately spill it all over the freshly Swiffered floor.
"Deck the walls with Mom's hot cocoa,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
'Tis the season drives her loco,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Don we now our mismatched gloves,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la.
Trolls and ogres feel more love,
Fa la la la la, la la la la."
I've read blogs showcasing dazzling mantle displays and describing quaint homemade traditions meshing Little House on the Prairie Christmas and Pottery Barn.
And I could care less. Or couldn't care less. Whichever is the way to say you don't give a hoot.
Because I don't.
Around here, the Christmas lights dazzle on our rolltop desk (we have no mantles), and four boxes of Christmas junk occupy the sitting room. They're my constant reminder of the lesson of Christmas 2010: Don't Get Your Decorations Out until You Have Your Christmas Tree. But before we can fit the Christmas tree in to the room, we have to get a rather large piece of equipment (ahem, the piano) OUT. It's a little hard to get motivated to get the piano out since we just put it in a month ago. But it is a cast-off that ends up being too big for our space and so we really need to borrow the trailer to haul it away. Then we can get the tree and decorate it and do all of that stuff.
I want to like the season, and overall, I do. But I have a really hard time when I start analyzing it. I mean, what's magical about Christmas? Well, nothing really. And what's fun about Christmas? The lights, the caroling, the presents, the smells, the tastes, the cleaning. Oh, and let's just throw in a little "Happy birthday, Jesus" so we can feel mainstream Christian about it and do further dishonor to the divinity of Christ.
But I won't tell you how I really feel. ((Snort, snort.))
The thing is, I don't get all the "magic" that traverses the Internet. I mean, these women who are making the coffee filter wreaths and the gingerbread castles and the homemade candy canes?
How? And, more to the point, why?
I've just spent an entire day trying to enjoy festivities with my children. Or, actually, festivitY. The ONLY scheduled "festivity" was making some spritz cookies. And blast it if that silly cookie press didn't blurp out blobs that looked nothing like the Christmas tree on the guide! And in order to give everyone a "job," I had to invent steps. I mean, we ran out of ingredients before I ran out of children, so we ended up frosting and embellishing the cookies just to have a job for two of them ("You frost; you crush candy canes and nuts"). And not a one of them is going to end up with today as a fond memory: "Remember when I got to add the butter and Mama got so fed up with our help she sent us outside and then called Papa saying, 'I can't stand your kids'?? Oh, I feel so warm and fuzzy inside!"
But that's life here. No one stops the dirty diapers or runny noses or selfish attitudes (theirs and mine) or hurt feelings or tired whinings - or refreshes your camera batteries - just so you can enjoy the "season."
I'm going to have to learn to enjoy this Season of Life - this rugrat-full, crumbly-floored, hat-and-glove strewn, sibling-rivalried Season with all of its mess and annoyance. And that is a trick far harder (and more important) than dangling some tinsel and twinkle from the staircase.
I'm very hard put to believe a fat old man comes down my non-existent chimney or that the Lamb of the World was born anytime in December. But I know that God did come down to dwell with man and that the incarnation of Jesus Christ was the beginning of my reason for hope. The promise that thousands before me held so dearly -- that there would be an offspring to crush the serpent's offspring's head -- has been carried out in history. It is a true fact, a done deed! And because of it, I can smile at my children and tell them of the heavenly blessings which are ours in Christ Jesus and how God has lavished His riches upon us (Eph. 1).
I can enjoy the season (spritz cookies aside).
And the Season.