Thanksgiving is over, pushed out of the way by retailers marketing Black Friday stuff and clutter a day early.
The Christmas season is officially upon us. The big day is just over three weeks away.
Just saying that can give me a queasy stomach. When I think of all that needs to be done, I get faint. Presents to buy and ship, cookies to bake, a house to decorate, Christmas cards to get out, gatherings to attend.
It puts me on the speed train to Whineyville. With a stopover in Snarkburg.
I can drive myself crazy with the holiday shouldas. And it’s not a list of expectations anyone has placed on me.
I’ve crafted it all by myself.
Wanting to be the best mom, wife, nana, neighbor, employee, friend and co-worker possible, I expect me to buckle down and get the job done of making everyone’s Christmas happy and satisfying.
At which point an intelligent person might interject, “Who died and made you queen of the world?”
I believe most women are predisposed to “nurture overdrive” this time of year. I’m not picking on genders here. I’m just saying that many women can feel the pressure to create the perfect holiday. Something out of a Norman Rockwell painting.
I’m not sure Norman believed what he painted was real.
It’s easy to get bogged down in unreasonable seasonal expectations.
Pinterest makes us think we can create our way to a perfect Christmas. The Food Network makes us think we can cook and bake our way to the best possible holiday. And retailers everywhere make us think we can buy our way into the hearts of everyone we love.
It’s all a trap.
This isn’t a time of frenzied doing and buying. Nor is it a time of cramming every social event in the next three weeks that should be spread out over a year.
It’s Advent. Anticipating Jesus’ coming again to claim His own. Acknowledging His historical coming over 2,000 years ago. Recognizing that Christmas is about more than gifts and parties and homemade cookies and lights on a tree.
It’s about hope, love, joy and peace that was offered by God when He gave His only Son to come to earth for us. Four things we long for. Need. Four things that this world can’t offer unconditionally.
The calendar countdown is a killer. I slip into production mode so quickly.
Now should be my time of wonder. To look past the tinsel and lights and see a glorious gift, wrapped simply in the blanket of a special Baby. To not get sidetracked by the parties and buffets so I can experience the total satisfaction of being loved and known by the One who made me. And then came to save me.
I’m going to try to hit the pause button. To not fret about my undecorated house or my unbaked cookies.
I’m known and loved by God. We all are.
I can deck my halls with that truth.