One of the hardest parts about growing up is realizing that things aren’t always going to stay the same. Personally, I realize just how much has changed in my life more during the holiday season than any other time of the year. We have had to adapt our holiday plans and traditions as the years have gone on and relatives have grown older and as children have come into the picture. The past few years have found me feeling a little bit empty, the holiday season not holding the same spark and allure that it did in years passed. Part of me is afraid of things changing for obvious reasons. Who wants to feel like the things they know and love are fading away?
The other part of me senses the need for things to shift as times change and as my own family grows. It is a tension, having to learn to let go of the things from yesterday while embracing the reality of the present. I am so blessed. Blessed that I have so much family to celebrate Christmas with that I don’t know how I’m going to work everything into one day. I am so blessed that I have had solid traditions and people to share them with for almost 28 Christmases. But the truth is that things HAVE changed. I have changed from being an “observer,” one of the overly excited children drowning in everything-Christmas, to one of the parents rushing around trying accomplish everything so that my children can feel the magic of the season. Perhaps that is why I felt empty for a time. The transition was hard. It was like going from watching a play and being enthralled with it to all of a sudden being put backstage and charged with putting on the production. The suspension of was disbelief gone, the reality of the chaos and stress that it takes to seamlessly accomplish all of this hit home.
How confused I was.
This year I realize why this is and why this shouldn’t be. The reason we celebrate is this: Immanuel, God with us. Everything else is merely the icing on top. And while I am anxious to build upon my own family’s traditions and to savor the times that I still have with those that I love, I am truly determined to live out a holiday season that puts Christ first. Both in my own heart and in my children’s young hearts. So that even as time passes and things change in their own lives, that they will have a firm foundation to rest on. They will know and have Jesus and that is more important than anything. He doesn’t change, and the glorious truth of his arrival isn’t fleeting, even year after year.
Possibly the biggest part of the season, at least for me, is the tree. THE tree. I’m a nerd about two things, and I could take a million years to either of them: picking the perfect pumpkin for Halloween, and picking the perfect tree for Christmas. These are both pretty special tasks in my book. And I’m really glad to say that my husband is the same way…at least about the tree. It has just always been that way. My family and I would always get a freshly cut…or dug up tree, to put up and decorate. And there were loads of tinsel and glass balls hanging off of every branch. There really wasn’t much green left exposed so it was hard to imagine such a big fuss being made over getting the perfect tree. Then again, maybe it was such an important mission year after year because there were three little girls in my household, all of which wanted to voice their opinion on the matter. Dad just nodded and went along with the ride…for the most part. I guess he DID have to be the one to cut it down and haul it, didn’t he? I suppose that was fair.
This is one tradition that I’m glad to carry on in my own family. While we don’t dig up our tree and replant it once Christmas has passed, like we did for a number of years in my household, we always get a fresh-cut one. Maybe there were be a fake tree in my house one day, but there will be time for that when it comes. For now, fresh-cut it is. And thankfully, the kids were pretty excited about picking a tree yesterday with us. It was a wonderful day. And this was probably the last year before the children really DO want to have an opinion on the matter.
The sad truth is that the kiddos would have probably been content with some of the trees we spotted within the first 15 minutes…
It was actually mommy and daddy that wanted to prolong the tree-hunt.
As it should be.
I hope that this post finds you enjoying the holiday season and partaking in your own joyful and unique traditions. I pray that you find meaning this season and enjoy the precious time that you have with a family. We have 7 more posts for Gratitude left!!! Stay tuned.
Happy Thursday, friends!