On Saturday, when my family was finally decorating our tree, I couldn’t shake the questions that I asked at the end of my last post. I even found myself thinking, “I hate Christmas” at the very moment when I was in the middle of stringing the lights. Immediately, I started to think about what that meant and I realized something. I realized that it isn’t Christmas that I hate. In fact, when I listed all the things that Christmas means to me, I ended up with quite a list of things that I love:
- The miracle of my Savior’s birth.
- Buying presents for my daughters…the one time of year that I truly spoil them.
- Christmas lights.
- Traditional foods (HELLO Christmas cookies!!!)
- Christmas music
- All the beautiful decorations
- The excitement that my kids feel (they are never too old to want to wake up early with excited smiles)
- Christmas dinner
- Special ornaments, especially the ones that were made by my daughters, nieces and nephews, and all the ones that remind me of the special times in their lives
- Marveling at the first Christmas pictures of my beautiful girls…how much they looked alike and how different they have grown up to be…and the true amazement that time has gone so fast
- Receiving all the Christmas cards including pictures of all those beautiful kiddos (even though I suck and never send any of my own…thanks for keeping me on your list!)
- The feeling of gratefulness for the incredible abundance in my life
- Family time, including the gatherings of extended family
- And the list goes on…
So what is the deal?? If I love all these things about Christmas, what it is that I hate? Somewhere along the way, a light bulb went off. I realized that it isn’t Christmas that I hate. Instead, I hate how I feel at Christmas. And when I dig deeper into that, I realize that I hate to remember painful things. I hate feeling inadequate. I hate the frustration I feel because I don’t feel the “right” emotions and excitement that I think everyone else must be feeling (even when I know that isn’t true). In that moment, I didn’t get much further than that. I tried to get caught up in the traditional light unwinding ritual with Becca, the happy memories associated with all the ornaments, the humor of the annual ritual of the leaning Andrews tree (surely one of these years we will put a tree up without the threat of it crashing down by the next day!) For this day, the realization of all the things that I enjoy about Christmas was enough.
Tomorrow…my Sunday morning epiphany.