Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Critical Mass

There is a couple we're friends with who also have two young children, a bit younger than ours. When we're hanging out and the kids have reached that point where they have used all their patience reserves, are getting tired or hungry, and have simply reached that point of no return where you know meltdowns are inevitable and unstoppable, they like say that we've reached "critical mass". Yes, he teaches science.

Well, this morning it is clear to me that we're at Christmas critical mass. Everyone is exhausted.
Christmas is the culmination of a stressful although joyful Advent season for my pastor husband who has logged more hours this year than even usual as a result of some unfortunate happenings at our church - funerals and illness. I've been working to do all the gift acquisition and preparation, engage the children in meaningful Advent activities, and attempt to continue marathon training and injury rehab. And, oh yea, we had chicken pox here. That brings me to the kids. The kids, like any other, are absolutely almost literally bursting with excitement on top of it all.

My very sensitive and intuitive son is soaking in all of the excitement, stress, and anticipation. His body is literally tingling with it all. He can't wait for Christmas but he doesn't know what to do with it all. My toddler simply doesn't understand why he can't eat all of the cookies and open all the presents he knows are in the house. He doesn't care whether the house is clean or the elaborate dinner is cooked. He just wants to be able to participate in the celebration now. Enough waiting. Enough preparation.

There is much to be done today, but just as Advent does not depend on me (thank you God!), Christmas does not depend on the perfectly cleaned home, perfectly prepared food, or perfectly orchestrated holiday experience. It's not going to be perfect. Some of it may not be done. We're going to focus on the essentials and at the top of that list has to be being with my kids and helping them through the waiting instead of asking them to wait more so that we can get the to do list done.

Today, regardless of what is done or not done (and believe there is much that is not done), we're dropping the to do lists and going hiking with a friend. We're going outside to get some fresh air and enjoy God's creation. We need a break from the presents, the wrapping, the cookies, and the decorations. We need a break from everything that so wonderful builds our anticipation as we wait for our Savior to be born. We need to go be with what God has made in the here and now together as a family with nothing else to do.

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