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« Gifts of Experience (Instead of Stuff) | Main | Finding Comfort »
Tuesday
Dec182012

The True Source of Christmas Cheer

The holiday season has been tough for me this year. Even before the tragic events of last Friday, I haven’t felt consumed by the Christmas spirit like I usually do. The weather is too warm. We are traveling for the actual holiday. Then, last week a dear friend of mine was involved in a serious car accident. She survived but remains in the hospital under heavy sedation. 

It is difficult to feel merry and bright when the darkness of the world seems to creep in at every corner. 

And yet, I keep hearing Kate McCallister’s voice in my head, “This is CHRISTMAS! The season of perpetual hope!” If ever there was a time of year to let the calendar consume your everyday worries, I suppose Christmas is it. Not to mention, I proclaim my love of Christmas far and wide. But if my passion for Yuletide cheer is so fragile, how deep does that love truly go? 

So, I’ve tried to pump up the Christmas tunes (EXCEPT “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” which sends into a crying jag every single time) and focus on the parts of the holiday I really enjoy like crafting homemade gifts and baked goods. However, sometimes even the loudest rendering of “All I Want For Christmas Is You” or the yummiest piece of peanut butter fudge just can’t cut through the gloom.

That’s when I realized the best source of Christmas cheer was staring me right in the face.

Meet Griffin and Amos - my Christmas secret weapons.

I had been so consumed with giving my boys the perfect Christmas and being cheerful for them I hadn’t realized they have something to give as well. Even the loveliest rendition of Silent Night can’t compete with Griffin singing Jingle Bells at the top of his lungs and miles of the most delicious cookies and cakes can’t replace the fun of watching Amos lick icing off his fingers as we decorate our gingerbread train. I had been trying to create Christmas cheer when it had been living happily and freely in my house the entire time. 

It is so easy as a mother to see this time of year as one long list of to dos and must haves. We shop for our children. We craft for our children. We cook for our children. We want to show them the joys of the season. We want to teach them what Christmas is all about. 

But maybe just maybe - they have something to teach us as well. 

Griffin doesn’t have to be told to celebrate Christmas with Intention. He understands that instinctively. He enjoys decorating without striving for perfection. He gives gifts for the joy of giving without concern or fear of judgment. He feels the happiness of anticipation without the anxiety adults so often create. 

So, when the adult world becomes too much, I’m taking a cue or two from kids. Christmas is the time of year I’m learning this lesson but I hope it’s one I take with me all year long. 

~ Sarah Stewart Holland

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