I wrote this last year at the Christmas but I still feel the same way, this year! I thought it was worth a re-post!
I head a lady complaining the other day, while I was waiting in a long line. (Of course!) She was moaning about everything that she had left to do for Christmas. As I listened to her run down her list, I could truly sympathise.
"I have to address 150 Christmas cards, wrap all my gifts, bake about a thousand cookies and finish getting stocking stuffers" The woman she was talking to could relate. She started naming off all the things that she had to do along with a comment about how she doesn't enjoy the holidays all that much.
I think we all can relate in a way. There is no doubt about it. The holidays are a busy time.
As I recalled the conversation (as I was wrapping a gift) I began to wonder. Is this what the holidays are all about? How much pressure do we put on ourselves?
Then I actually felt guilty for enjoying all those things that woman was complaining about! I love baking cookies. The kids enjoy having goodies to snack on and it makes this time of year special. The hard work I put into each baked treat is appreciated by my friends and family. Its not just flour, sugar and butter. Its my love given to my loved ones.
I also will admit to really enjoy wrapping gifts. I wait until my kids are asleep and then I put on a chick flick (White Christmas anyone?) Cocoa, a snack and turn the fireplace on. I savor this time. I get to wrap each gift in fun, beautiful or funky paper and then make it pretty with ribbon, bows or ornaments. I like to think that when the person receives the gift, they will feel a little more special! (Or at least be able to tell how special I think they are!)
It didn't always used to be like this.. I am afraid that I used to be just like that woman in line. Everything about the holidays was just another thing on my list to be checked off. But is that all there is? The holidays are just a series of things to get done, accomplished and then we can sleep tight at night?
What if we actually slowed down and -gasp- enjoyed the tedious "jobs" that go along with the holidays. You see I believe that its all about having a servants heart. I am leaning this more each day.
I am far from where I need to be.
If we look at these tasks as something that gives joy and pleasure to others the job is suddenly not a "job" but a gift. That time I put into sending a special note in their card or baking that extra batch of cookies is my gift of love.
I could say the same about not doing anything. I have cut out the things that really don't matter at all in order to .. well do nothing with my hubbie and kids. Then those other things that have to be done can be enjoyed rather than endured.
This season is all about the Creators wonderful gift to us.... his Son. If he gave me this gift begrudgingly, would I appreciate it as much? Would I cherish it knowing that it really didn't want to be given?
The truth is that it although it was at the biggest cost, it was joyfully given in love. That is how much I was loved. WOW. Shouldn't I have the same attitude of giving in this Holiday season?
Hopefully I can maintain this attitude throughout Christmas.. but check in on Christmas eve at 2:00am. :)