|Dining room decor stitched in 2005|
I am writing to myself more than to anybody else when I say these things. We can feel pressured to do more and more when in reality we may need to do less and less if we are to experience the spiritual benefits of celebrating Noel.
Many years ago, when all my children were very small and we were in some stressful circumstances, I worked very hard to cook and present the most wonderful holiday dinner for my family. By the time the food was on the table, I was absolutely done! both physically and emotionally.
As my family was getting to the table and bibs were being tied around little necks, I grabbed my car keys and headed out the door. Allowing angry and frustrated tears to roll freely down my cheeks, I drove to a local park where I stopped the car and cried my eyes out for several minutes.
After a time, I drove home and sheepishly let myself back into the house. My family had eaten the food and was in the process of cleaning everything up when I entered the room. The atmosphere was muted. Even the dog stayed out of my way. Peace followed, along with a horrible dose of humiliation on my part.
It's a terrible memory. In retrospect, I would rather have dropped the turkey on the floor or forgot to buy dinner rolls than to have behaved the way I did.
Holiday memories don't have to be perfect to be meaningful. And frankly, if everything truly is perfect, people often feel intimidated and unable to relax enough to enjoy the event.
I look back on it now and understand what that was all about...just a very tired young wife and mother who had unrealistic expectations and was too proud to ask for help (which, I promise you, was readily available).
There is a non-Christmas passage in the Bible that aptly applies to these last days leading up to Christmas:
By God's mercies, my family is still intact and we are wiser for the experience.