I vowed a few months ago that Christmas this year was not going to be the frenzy of activity it always seems to become. I think part of that resolve is because I am finally free to realize that I really have nothing to prove. No amount of baking or running from this function to that one is going to make be any more worthy of love. I already have the love of the One that really matters, and He is totally pleased with me because of the work of Jesus on the cross. It’s like Jesus clepped the exam for me. It is interesting to me to see how that has been playing out this Christmas season.
The first place I decided to make it simpler was my baking. We are still doing the gingerbread house because
the pictures are so impressive on facebook the kids and I love doing it, and we also chose a few of our other favorite cookies to make, but I cut the list by about half. I am apologizing ahead of time to those folks who have certain expectations about the bounty of my cookie larder. It will be smaller this year. Not only will my life be just a tad simpler, but my waistline will be happier, too.
We also decided that we didn’t need the added pressure of hosting our huge gathering on Christmas day. We always go to the Handy Man’s parents’ house for the late morning and early afternoon, and then we traditionally come home and have a few families come over and celebrate Jesus with us. It’s not that we don’t love his family, but Jesus is clearly not the reason they celebrate Christmas, and it is really depressing to spend the whole day doing nothing more than eating and watching 20 people open gifts, one at a time, and never once thank God for the most precious gift of all: Jesus. So in the past we decided to have a real celebration with our like-minded friends. This year, since we have church in the morning, we get to start the day by celebrating Jesus. And then we will go to Handy Man’s family for the gift-giving frenzy followed by a quiet evening at home. We may even wait to open our presents until we get home. We’ll see how it goes. One way or another, Christmas Day is going to be more laid-back. We are having our friends over for Boxing Day instead this year. We are looking forward to that! The children are looking forward to NOT having to clean the house up before we leave on Christmas day.
Even our party here is going to be more low-key. I generally make enough food to feed two or three times the people that come. I enjoy cooking, but my compulsive need to spread a feast has many times gotten out of hand. This year I am planning to make a few things–the meat, a few pies, and a veggie or two–and I am letting the others bring the rest. I find myself continually reminding myself that I really don’t have to do all the things we traditionally do. I am lowering my expectations of myself!
Finally, I am finding freedom from having to eat everything presented to me. I still have weaknesses. Yesterday was a day full of landmines for me: church fellowship dinner, cookie-swap piano recital, and then dinner here with friends. I blew it, but not too badly, I even *gasp* threw away half a brownie I couldn’t eat at the recital, and Star Child finished the chocolate peanut pie slice I got at the fellowship dinner. I am learning that I can say NO and not offend anyone. The people pleaser in me finds it hard to say no, but it is getting easier. I used to eat and eat until my belly hurt and I felt sick. Now I know that there is a point where I hit comfortably full. And that is where I must stop.
It is a learning process. We are not yet to the stress-free Christmas season, but we are well on the way! It makes me giddy to think about it.