Grading Christmas

Every year, after Christmas, we have a post holiday review.  “How did we do at celebrating and keeping our focus?”  “What did we do that you liked?”  “What did we do that you didn’t like?”  “What should we have done more of?”  “What do you want to avoid at all costs, next year?”  (My answer: the mall!!)  😉 

We finally had an opportunity to do that yesterday.  We were all in one place, Squishburt was quietly playing (NOT with kleenex) and I was taking a writing break.

“SO guys – let’s talk about our holidays.”  I asked with MUCH trepidation. You see, in my mind, this Thanksgiving/Christmas season was a BOMB!  Not the good kind, but a total flop.  Since I was pretty much spending all my time studying (I had to learn about real estate investing before I could write about it.) celebrating took a real hit.

This was the first year in many that we didn’t have Christmas cookies. (This would include last year, when I was recovering from a C-section)  Nor did we have any candies.  We didn’t even have a birthday cake for Jesus.  (Granted, that was in part because we spent Christmas with my in-laws, not only the right choice, but a lovely one as well.)

This was the first year in many we didn’t have a jigsaw puzzle for New Year’s Eve.  Nor a game day.  Nor our annual fondue.  All of the “normal” things of the season were set aside so I could study/write.

I can’t tell you how hard this was for me. I ranted at God at how frustrated I was that every time I tried to incorporate the normal things, my every effort was thwarted. Finally, after many weeks of this, I simply stopped fighting, opened my hands and let Father take my longing for the “perfect” Christmas away.  “Father, thank You for this season of book-stuff.  Thank You for Your plan for our family. PLEASE work peace in my heart!  Please help me stop fighting what You desire to do in my heart.  I just want to be malleable in Your hands.”

I wish I could tell you I was then able to totally rest in this.  I still cringe when I see my neighbors. This even ended up being the only year in 18 that we haven’t given out goodies of some kind.  But, we take goodies to them all year long – and we make a point of sending children to visit with our dear Grandma and Grandpa neighbors on a regular basis.  They aren’t questioning our love for them, I hope.

What will next year be like?  God knows. Literally.  I’m just not going to concern myself with it.  Instead, I want my focus to continue to be on being malleable in the hands of my Master and at peace with what He chooses to do with me. Selah.

So, what was the grade we received from the crew?  A “B+ or A-.”  A “B+”????!! For REAL?  Yep.  It wasn’t the best Christmas we’ve ever had, but it wasn’t the worst, either.  What about the dearth of cookies?  No biggie, we make cookies all the time. We can always make some of our favorite Christmas cookies for Valentines.  Ditto fondue.  (In fact, we think we’d like to do fondue on Valentine’s Day better anyway.  We’ll enjoy it more.)  We had/made the time to do what was most important and the rest just had to slip away.  It was a good year, Mom. REALLY?  Yep, it really was.  

Isn’t Grace an amazing thing?!!!!!

4 Responses to “Grading Christmas”
  1. Melanie says:

    Thanks, Dawn. There’s nothing to offend me here with your family meeting/analysis of your Christmas. I’m still struggling with my OWN expectations (and those traditions I encourage my dc to love as well)… instead of seeking to be content. I *think* that I want what is good: I want to lessen the focus on gifts for all the Me’s who live in this house. I want to minister to others with caroling (& cookies? since we are not the VonTrapps). And I don’t remember what else was on My List this year — maybe time to enjoy the games, books, cookies, fires, and less running in the van (always- a theme in 2006). I did NOT want to travel, but we did it anyway — it was the right thing to do (Tim’s mom is almost 85 — why did I think she’d want to travel 300 miles to see us instead??)

    This is getting long (surprise! and sorry to those of you who don’t know me — I’m too verbose and I know it!)

    I was intrigued by the Christmas’s of others — such as acting out the Christmas story home-style (anyone see that on Timberdoodle?) — oh, too fun with six dc to fill the roles pretty well. Well, we watched their videos together anyway… maybe we can do it next year?? (a functioning camcorder would inspire us maybe?)
    Buying gifts for others doesn’t seem to undo our own desires — See, maybe what I want is Perfection of Sanctification in the here/now — in myself, in my children. (no more selfish desires? who am I kidding? But yielding those to Christ would be a better “goal”) My dh seems to enjoy Christmas — more when the kids are helping in the kitchen with cookies and candies, less when I’m bugging him in October with my gift shopping lists 😉 He’s so much better at the “Relax and enjoy your children” stuff.

    Sorry to take over your blog, Dawn! (maybe you should limit comments to 200 characters also??) And thanks for sharing from your hearts, ladies — I’ve enjoyed learning from your comments here. Blessings to each of you!

  2. whimsy says:

    we did get our tree up…..but not a single decoration on it.

    it was kinda sad, but I would still grade our Christmas as good overall.

  3. Lynn says:

    Hey Dawn,

    We had a much simpler Christmas this year, also. I left the tree totally to the children. Noah cut a 3 ft, very Charlie Brownish tree and then the children made all the ornaments…. paper chains, bead craft, applesauce ornaments, etc. It was very sweet and so simple. I also did no baking this year and we still had plenty of sweets.

    The highlight for us was Christmas Eve. We went to the candlelight service at our church – always a very precious time (they’ve even gotten sensible and give the children glow sticks instead of candles.) Anyway, afterwards we came home and had a Bethlehem Dinner which consisted of halibut, tomato & cucumber salad, olives, pomegranates, oranges, challah, etc. We ate by candlelight and had music playing softly (next year I’ll have to find Jewish music.) The girls thought the best part was not using plates, but eating out of common bowls and using our fingers. It was a peaceful time and so much fun.

    For New Year’s Eve our church and the other local church went together and rented the elementary school. It was so much fun with games and snacks in one room, a movie for the children in the library, and basketball, four-square and children running wild in the gym. Great fun! Afterwards we went to Molly’s house to ring in the New Year. There was a rousing good game of spoons of which I abstained. I sat on the couch and visited with Lydia while we nursed our babes. Wish your family could have joined us!

  4. javadawn says:

    Lynn, that sounds lovely. I wish I could have joined you. (for both events) ~sigh~

    whimsy, my dear, we got the tree up and decorated, but it never got “finished” as we have always put little bows in the tree. But, you know, as hard as it’s been, it just seems like the Lord is teaching me how little it is about the tree and the trimmings. It’s MY deal that gets those involved. (I kid you not, I really struggled with what a bad mom I was for a while. ?? My kids were enjoying rich relationship with me, yet because I didn’t have bows on a dying tree, stuck in a plastic stand I was failing as a mother?!!! How stinking ridiculous is THAT thinking?!!!)
    Melanie, my sweet, you just feel right free to come and be as verbose as you like. I love reading what you share – you’re always so technicolor real! (In case you’re wondering, that IS a compliment!) 🙂

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