It's been a different Christmas, especially for me. I think I've spent the entire Christmas season coping with this, trying to figure out what exactly that means for me.
Having Little People in the house made me really want to recreate some of the Christmas magic I so fondly remember. I mean, Christmas has always been really magical for me. I have these grand memories of idyllic Christmas mornings around the tree, Christmas Eve services, time with family, baking in the kitchen...the whole package, really. And even though Christmas really was wonderful in years past, I know the memories are a little bit inflated: we never have been a Norman Rockwell family, even if we are one in my mind.
But these memories led to some warped expectations for me. I wanted to burst forth into the Season with beautiful decorations, tantalizing aromas wafting from the kitchen, smiling children, perfectly wrapped gifts, et cetera, ad nauseum. Frankly, I've been battling my expectations since Thanksgiving... all the way on through Christmas. And it's made me a pretty miserable person.
These inflated expectations led to major disappointments. I "failed" when only nine ornaments made it on the tree, and the gifts didn't even have bows or tags on them. I was a "disappointment" when Christmas Eve supper was hastily warmed up while the baby screamed. I was a "terrible mother" when I failed to produce engaging Christmas crafts and activities for my toddler. I'm sure you can see why I was pretty miserable this season?
I wanted to create all this magic... and in it, I managed to forget the real Magic of God, with us. Emmanuel. A tiny baby came, to die, to reconcile us to our God. He was born of a virgin, bore the sins of the whole world. God is with us.
Now that is something to celebrate.