Holiday Present

Holiday priorities certainly change over time.

As a small tyke holidays consisted of brightly colored classrooms, projects with glue and glitter that were supposed to be “pretty gifts” to others who made “oh my how … nice” faces, dressing up in new tights and a frilly dress for the church/school/piano recital, being plied with sugar and excitement and gifts and new events — all while being told to calm down.

As a high schooler the holidays were a time to start learning how to buy presents that weren’t made out of glue and glitter and complaining about the traditions you formerly loved OR complaining that the parents are tired of putting on the traditions you find utterly necessary.

As a college student the holidays were spent detwitching from cramming for finals, eating real food for the first time in forever, sleeping while the family’s awake and being awake while the family’s asleep, and running to the store on the 24th of December because apparently blessing the family with one’s presence isn’t a good enough gift.

As a single person the holidays were for trying to figure out how to live with others while you’re used to living by yourself and for overspending in an attempt to compensate for those years of glue and glitter or nothing.

As a young married person the holidays are a time of negotiation:  who to spend time with, where, what will be eaten, what will be worn, how will presents be wrapped, how will the days look, what traditions will carry over, what traditions will be left behind, and how many people are going to be unsatisfied (so says the melancholy personality type :)).

Now, as a mother of three tykes, the holidays have a whole new meaning.  It feels like it’s all Up To Me:  to create traditions, to buy gifts, to make meals, to plan events, to do crafts, to sing songs, to visit all the family members:  to make Everyone Happy and Content with the Magic of the Season.

And it’s so.not.possible.

Now, this is a pressure I totally placed on myself.  It’s an attempt to fill a role I cannot, nor should not, nor have been asked, to fill.  At the root it’s about trying to measure up, mask insecurity.  And it’s about taking the focus off of Christ and onto the family, or more pointedly, myself.

And I don’t want to celebrate myself.  I do that on a daily basis by making choices that please or comfort me.

Advent Conspiracy has laid out four thoughts for helping bring the focus back to Christ, the meaning of His birth and life and death and life above and beyond, and to the body of Christ.

  • Worship Fully
  • Spend Less
  • Give More
  • Love All

And so this holiday season, for this month of December, I hope to use these phrases to refocus my attention, to orient myself towards my Savior, the one who came without glue and glitter and self-centered desires.

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