I'm having a hard time getting into the "Christmas Spirit" this year. The tree went up Thanksgiving weekend, I'm finished buying 80% of the gifts we'll give, we've had hot cocoa, we've looked at lights, we've been singing Christmas songs ad nauseum.
What I'm missing isn't the things we do, but the way we're "supposed" to feel.
Last year's Christmastime was exceptional. It was a bad year. It was bad year that followed a bad year. My dad died in August. While I was on vacation. Then Jeremy's dad died. Three days later. While I was five months pregnant. Then I had a baby six days before Christmas, and was still expected to get out and about and show off my SIX DAY OLD BABY to all the germy-sneezy-coughing-loving family members. All I wanted to do was nurse and sleep. I didn't eat, I didn't shower, I didn't do any worthwhile parenting when I came to my older kids. Last Christmas was rough.
So, I'm at a loss as to why this Christmas is just... not happening for me. I have three beautiful, healthy children. I have a husband who dotes on me and spoils me and is my best friend. I have good friends, and I have a good extended family. (Don't confuse "good" with "not crazy," though. They're crazy. Both sides. All sides.)
I feel like there are things keeping me from diving in whole-heartedly this Christmas. My brother has a child that he has chosen not to know, which means, by extension my mother and I can't know the child. There is a situation within my husband's family that is causing a rift, creating "sides." My mother and step-father are struggling on a one-and-sometimes-one half-income. I have been in a very rare, and usually short, funk for several weeks now.
I'm just not feeling it this year. The only time I feel truly Filled With Joy is when I am at home, surrounded by my babies, sitting by my husband. We play games together, cook meals together, brush teeth together. If this is some sort of (temporary!) attachment phase, if I'm being co-dependent on my husband and children for happiness..... what better high is there? (And really, oh really, that's another blog post altogether!)
But then, I remember the whole "true meaning of Christmas" bit. It's about Jesus. It's about the Word made flesh. It's about the Most High choosing to become the most lowly. It's about the Christchild's birth... but His birth and life was only meant to facilitate His death. So that we might live. The celebration of Christmas --the birth of the Savior-- is really only an introduction of, and a prelude to, Easter --the resurrection of the Savior.
We are deep into the Advent season, a time to prepare for the coming King, and I haven't prepared a thing. I haven't opened my heart and cleared out past hurt and anger to prepare myself for truly forgiving my father- someone who never asked for forgiveness. I haven't prepared myself for what possible changes are in store within my extended family. I haven't even prepared a single sugar cookie.
I want to reevaluate myself this Christmas. I want to experience the joy, the "thrill of hope." I don't want to sit passively, angrily, lazily, stubbornly aside and let this opportunity for new growth pass me by.
I'm going to make a list, and make sure to check it more than twice, of changes I want to make, tangible and intangible things I want to discard, and positive, joyful additions I want to make in my life.
And... we'll see how it goes.