I think that John and I both had a sense earlier this fall that this Christmas was going to be different for us. It is shaping up to be different in so many ways...
I haven't bought one single Christmas gift...yet.
I haven't ordered my Christmas cards...yet.
It is December 12, and I've baked only 2 batches of Christmas cookies.
By most standards, including my own, I'm WAY behind on Christmas, but you know what? I actually feel sane for the first time I can remember in a very long line of Christmas seasons. I'm not stressed about anything, and it feels very, very good. I've slowed down, let a lot of things slide, and have enjoyed the little things a lot more as a result.
I plan to order my Christmas cards this week, and I'll get them mailed sometime this month. It may be Christmas Eve, but they'll get mailed.
I intend to do some Christmas shopping later this week, and the good thing is that my list has been carefully thought out and prayed over.
And when the kids get out of school next week, I'm planning to let them spend some time in the kitchen with me, baking all of our favorite holiday treats.
It will all get done.
The big surprise for me in all of my "unpreparedness" is how uncluttered my life feels right now. We've been lighting our Advent wreath each evening at dinner, eating by candlelight, reading scripture, singing, and talking about the Nativity story with our children. Normally, in all the hustle and bustle of shopping and running here and running there, doing this and doing that, it's hard for me to really be still and focus on the birth of Jesus and what this season is all about. I always want to, and my intentions are good, but last year, just a few days before Christmas, I remember sitting in the sanctuary of the church where Abbey's preschool was presenting their Christmas program, and realizing it was the first time all season that I had allowed myself to be still and quiet enough to really hear from God. So sad.
Thing have felt really different this year, and maybe that's what John and I were sensing. The focus around here HAS been on the "reason for the season", and not how many things I need to check off of my to-do list for today. We've simplified and re-focused, and I feel very centered and very much at peace. It's a good place to be, and the only thing I'm sad about is that it has taken me so long to find this place of quiet rest.