So it is almost Christmas.
There should be a wonderful glow of excitement surrounding us and flowing from us, and an all around festive mood that defines everything we do.
There should be….
People probably wouldn’t blame me if I was crabby this year. My husband is job hunting, which means an already stressful time of year is magnified by a lack of income. We were never “loaded” in years past, but we always had enough to satisfy our desire to give gifts to those we care about.
We’ve had to reduce our shopping list and cut a lot of corners this year. I cringe at every dollar that gets added to our credit card for necessities like groceries and dog food (thank heavens for 0% interest until next August) and I am running around like a fiend making sure lights are turned off and the heat is turned as low as we can comfortably keep it.
My husband and I never thought we’d face a Christmas like this.
But here we are…
I remember one year when I was kid, our church sent over a box of stuff right before Christmas. I remember that my sister and I each received a gift (maybe hats and mittens…mom???) but I also remember there was food in it too. At the time, I was excited to get things from strangers but in hindsight I realize what happened – that my parents struggled that year. But I don’t remember feeling like there was anything wrong. I don’t remember not having wonderful gifts under the tree nor do I remember them talking about it. I don’t remember Christmas as anything less than magical.
So, I could be crabby. I could be angry at the world and steal Christmas from my family because of my attitude.
My husband and I could both be bitter and angry. But we’re not. It’s strange, actually.
Oh, we have our moments when it all builds up and one of us just needs to blow off steam, but in general there is a calm air about us. The pressure and tension that I would expect from both of us has given way to a bizarre feeling of peace.
A peace that passes beyond all understanding? Perhaps…
The one thing I do know is that we have spent some of the best times together as a family recently. When our son was little, my husband used to work sometimes so late that he wasn’t home by 10pm even though he had left at 8 that morning. Now he’s home all the time, we eat together, we hang out and he’s there to help with the kids. As much as we want him to get a job, I will miss all of us being together all the time. So we are cherishing what we have this year, enjoying being together and celebrating the fact that we have what some others don’t. Not only each other, but a roof over our heads, shoes, coats, heat, and all the other things that are part of our home and family that some people only dream about having.
So I am making an effort to kick the ugly green dude to the curb this year. By focusing on the good things in our lives, including the opportunities this blog has offered to help provide wonderful gifts for Jake and Abby from Santa, maybe this Christmas will be one that we remember, not because of the struggles, but because of the the blessings.
No matter what your situation, I hope you can look beyond the surface to find the magic and true meaning of Christmas this year.