December 8, 2011

When Christmas Feels Like Pressure

It's December 8th, just 17 days before Christmas, and I'm still recovering from Thanksgiving.

I keep thinking that if I just get through this Christmas party and that Christmas event and the end of school and Christmas baking and Christmas cards and Christmas shopping, that then I will celebrate Christmas.
As I cook dinner each night, I turn on Pandora's Christmas station, hear the first lines of Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire, and immediately turn it off, almost disgusted. Frank Sinatra is roasting chestnuts and Michael Buble is going on sleigh rides, but I'm just checking off a to-do list and falling into bed.

My heart hasn't celebrated Christmas yet.

Yesterday, I realized why.

Sometimes Christmas feels like pressure, like it has to be perfect and feel like Christmas, all snow and hot chocolate and jingle bells and family togetherness. Sometimes Christmas feels frantic and busy. Sometimes it feels completely unlike what it is supposed to be.

My heart is resistant this year, resistant to trying to feel Christmas, to the wild, insane commercialization of it all.

I don't want to do stuff and get stuff.

I don't want to try to create an imitation Christmas.

I want a real, bare, meaningful Christmas.

And I know that begins in my heart.
I'm sharing about how I help my kids celebrate Christmas with Becky today. Here's a snippet:

Remember grace.
Traditions can provoke guilt if we let them. We feel like we have to create the perfect traditions to have the perfect Christmas. I remember feeling pressure to have our family’s traditions perfectly in place when my first child had his first Christmas at 8 months old! I’ve since learned that traditions are fluid: some are added accidentally, some are better when kids are older, and then some need to be changed when they are even older still. Traditions are not god; traditions should help us treasure God.

Join me there?

In addition, the following are posts that you might find helpful during this Advent season:

Christmas and God's Love Language
The Best Christmas Craft Ever
When You're Having a Blue Christmas
Celebrating Advent with Kids: Resources

I appreciated these recent posts, as they reflect what God is doing in my heart this Christmas:

When Christmas Gets Radical
The Christmas Conundrum