Wow. I am really drowning in Christmas spirit around here. Emily was up for the weekend, and I could write about 2,000 entries about how much I need her, how sacred our time together was. But I could also talk about the Christmas Kitsch Explosion that went on. WAY TOO MANY ornaments were purchased. She said, "I just love animals with scarves on!." Pathetic. We should have taken our wallets away from one another. So we've got some more animals with scarves on around here, and Loretta has taken it upon herself to kitsch up the mantle. I don't have the heart to take anything down for the sake of style. Let's just say Dwell magazine won't come knocking anytime soon.
Last year, I posted this Christmas pledge, and I'm pretty sure I found it by way of Emily and a blogger friend of hers. These 5 little principles lit the way for me last year, and I've found myself returning to them. In particular, this bit about "rededicating myself to the spiritual growth of my family." I want my kids to understand how privileged their lives are, and that responsibility comes with that. I want them to slow down enough to absorb love and receive love. I want them to be kind to one another, to be still and quiet sometimes, and to be captivated by the idea that God comes to us in all sorts of surprising ways. I can't expect them to get those things if Christmas is just about consuming.
Am I excited about giving them gifts? Of course. Do I have a ridiculous number of lists going? Puh-lease. I am Queen of Lists. But wonder, stillness, and a holy sense of Other trump all that stuff. I've experienced two deaths this year--my Uncle Mike and a dear friend and mentor, Lynn. I was able to be with both of them in liminal hours, hovering between death and life. What I experienced then is the truth I want to remember now--All that matters in this life is the love we allow ourselves to receive and the love we bestow on each other. If you don't feel like doing a Christmas cookie exchange this year, don't do it. Light a candle and pray for peace instead. If you don't want to go to the mall, don't do it. Call your aunt up instead and tell her you miss her.
Christmas, like every time of year, is a time when we can be transformed if we let ourselves. It's a time when we can quit with the cynicism and let ourselves be broken open a little bit. In the end, we'll wish we had. And this pledge helps me.
- To remember those who truly need my gifts.
- To express my love for family and friends in more direct ways than presents.
- To rededicate myself to the spiritual growth of my family.
- To examine my holiday activities in light of the true spirit of Christmas.
- To initiate one act of peacemaking within my circle of family and friends.