Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas is Coming!

Christmas is only a few days away. I haven't spent time in stores shopping for gifts, I haven't been in a workplace where everyone is decorating their offices, I haven't been playing carols endlessly. I haven't done any of the normal things that happen to get me in the 'Christmas Spirit.'

Yet, I am more excited about the holiday than I have been in years. Let me clarify. I'm more excited about the reality of the holiday than I have been in years.

Since I'm not a part of a church congregation right now, I was concerned that I would really miss the Advent preparations - singing Christmas carols on Sunday mornings, lighting the Advent wreath, all of that fun stuff. I was careful to watch for feelings of loss.

There have been no feelings of loss. In fact, I am more excited and more relaxed about the season than I ever remember!

I have time to think about gifts that I'm buying for my family and friends. I think about them and what they will enjoy. Because I really like immediate gratification, it's simple for me to then purchase something online and within a couple of days, the gift is at my home ready to be wrapped up. This is the first year in many that I am excited about the gift that I can give to my husband. In the past few years, I've never seemed to have the time to spend finding something that will make his eyes light up. I've only had time to just ... get something to ensure a gift under the tree from me to him.

Since I'm not running many different ways during the day and the weeks in preparation for holiday events at church, I actually have time to spend with my husband. I love the fact that we spend such an incredible amount of time together. Even though we may not talk to each other for a period of time, we are in the same room and it's nice to just feel the knowledge of his love for me.

My freedom has allowed me to enjoy being with my family for the holidays, but it is no longer a desperation. In years past, even though they lived within 1 1/2 hours, I didn't have time to spend with them, so holidays gained such a high level of importance that they completely wore us all out. Both Max and I would enter the holidays with such anticipation of the precious family time that we could barely wait to get there and then we were pooped because we had to grab every available moment.

What with Matthew living in Omaha while attending college and me having freedom to travel again, I see my family regularly and am able to anticipate the holidays knowing that we can relax while we're together.

I have been writing about the entire Christmas story in my blog at Pour Out a Blessing. Every day I have been watching the story unfold and seeing it in its fullness. It's been a wondrous journey. I've learned a lot and I've allowed the depths of the story to reach into the depths of my heart. This is the first Advent I have experienced where I feel as if I am preparing for the return of the Messiah as much as celebrating the Nativity of Christ.

In the last 6 months, I have stopped the frenetic activity that defined my life for the last 26 years. I don't know how long this season will last in my life, but I am grateful for the changes that have been made in myself.

"My soul praises the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior." (Luke 1:46)

No comments: