I’m usually pretty excited around this time of year. Christmas, that is. As soon as Thanksgiving is over I’m all about getting the tree up early, watching Christmas movies and stocking up on as many cartons of egg nog as I can handle. I even get excited when it snows. (The fluffy, picturesque stuff not the gross slushy crap.) I look forward to watching my family open their gifts that I was able to get them. It’s “supposed” to be this magical time…so why is it that this year I can’t wait for it to be over?
As I sit in my local Starbucks to write this, it’s officially the day before Christmas Eve. Or, as Pheobe from “Friends” would say, “It’s Christmas Eve eve!” I have family events to attend and co-host over the next couple days and to be honest I’m not as into it like I usually am. Not because I don’t love them all but this year everything is just so overwhelming. The shopping this year seems to be on steroids and never ending. And as much as I love receiving gifts (one of my love languages) I’m finding the whole commercial side of the holidays this year to be cringe worthy. If I had my way I’d probably just opt to go away somewhere for the holidays until the madness is over.
I haven’t had a lot of the quiet moments to myself lately that I’m used to (which is how I recharge my inner batteries) and everything just seems louder and busier and more chaotic. My family thinks I’m the Grinch this year and don’t seem to understand but for an introvert like me, it’s all very chaotic and overwhelming. I’ve never been more excited about the mundane calm of January.
I recognize that it’s most likely just a phase and that next year will be joyful again. The last couple of years have made me a case study in stress management in every way possible and there’s finally a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s all coming to a head and I just can’t wait for it to be over. I think the fact that it’s so close to being done but still having to wait for that moment is making me extra anxious. It’s making everything feel like a bigger deal than it actually is.
Last week I was in a store trying to pick gifts to get certain members of my family. I ended up leaving with nothing because I had a very limited budget this year and I felt so overwhelmed and disappointed that I wasn’t able to spoil my family this year the way I would have wanted to. It was definitely a self pity party moment. As much as I love opening my own gifts, I also love watching other people open the gifts that I give them. I wish I could have done more this year but I just wasn’t able to. I had put a lot of pressure on myself about what the holidays should be or what others expect around this time of year. It was sucking all of the joy out of the whole thing.
The next couple of days we are all going to be bombarded with social media posts and pictures about everyone’s Christmas experiences. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Everyone gets excited and celebrates in their own way. But for those that will see those posts and perhaps you’re in a similar position that I find myself in this year. Maybe your budget didn’t allow you to be as elaborate as you would have liked. Maybe the holidays will look very different this year than what you originally had envisioned at the beginning. Maybe certain people you love won’t be there for the first time, or maybe it’s been a couple of years but it still stings. Maybe your Christmas feast consists of your favourite take-out rather than a full on Martha Stewart four course fiasco.
Whatever your Christmas holidays look like over the next few days, just know that there is no right or wrong way to celebrate. There are no expectations. Simply celebrate in a way that brings you peace. Because really, that’s what this season is all about. Welcoming the Prince of Peace. Welcoming peace Himself. The One who gives us the ultimate peace that passes all understanding, even in the most chaotic situations. If it doesn’t bring you peace, you are fully inclined and allowed to say no without explanation.
And honestly, sometimes enjoying your favourite take-out, with your favourite person/people watching your favourite Christmas movie is far more magical than any crowded gathering or feast ever could be.
My wish for you all, is that you would find moments of peace in the midst of all the noise that this season tends to bring. And that you would also find peace in the only One who can truly give it in it’s purest form. Jesus.
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”~ John 14:27