Monday, December 26, 2011

Next Year Will Be Different

Christmas day has come and gone--yet still let's keep the spirit living on.

From Thanksgiving weekend until now, my life has been a whirlwind of holiday activities and the business of regular life. I finally feel I can breathe--at least for a day or two before I have to dive into the second half of the school year.

We had a good Christmas, but not a wonderful Christmas. The kids are happy. The husband and I are happy, but I am left with a feeling of unease. Things will have to change next year.

Next year, we will focus more on the reason for the season and the beauty that comes from such reflection. Top on my list is to take my children to a live performance of Handel's Messiah. This year I only heard a small snippet of The Hallelujah Chorus in the lobby of a hotel. I do not think that is sufficient, and besides my children do not even know what Handel's Messiah is.

Next year, we will open our immediate family gifts with just our immediate family. I love to take our time opening gifts, savoring each one whether it belongs to you or not. We open one gift at a time and enjoy each other's receipt of the gifts. Alas, our family is growing and there is too much noise and confusion. We love to open gifts with everyone else, but we don't have to share in ALL of the opening. We will exchange gifts with our loved ones and open those gifts together. The gifts that my dear husband and I exchange and those that we give to our children will simply be enjoyed with the ones with whom we share daily life.

Next year, I will start planning in advance--12 months in advance to be exact. That is exactly what I am doing with this post. I do not want December 1, 2012, to creep up on me without a solid plan in place. Lists need to be written and edited throughout the year. December is an extremely busy month. The first weekend of December this year, I was in charge of our children's Christmas program at church and while it is so enjoyable to see the children up on the stage putting their spin on the program that has been laid out for them, the planning and execution are stressful. Even though it is in the Lord's service, it is still stressful. The second weekend of the month, we had two parties to attend. They were very enjoyable and we had a blast, but it was still activities outside our own family's celebration and they were the source of more hurrying around. The third weekend of the month, the children had sports competitions and DS#1 got the opportunity to attend his first ever lock-in. We were shuttling kids back and forth--very early in the morning, I might add. Making sure tummies were filled and all necessary items were in the possession of whomever might need to possess them. In the middle of that, I took a beginning photography class (the location of the aforementioned hearing of The Hallelujah Chorus)--it was wonderful and I am so glad I took it, but again, hurrying around.

Then, low and behold, Christmas week was upon us. Our tree was not up. I was in a state of confusion as to exactly where we were in the month. Now THE DAY is over and something just doesn't feel right. I felt like I was swimming through mud trying to bask in the joy of the season--the reason we celebrate. We attended a Christmas Eve service at a church other than our own for the simple reason of my wanting to just enjoy the service without thinking about work. It was a change--it was very different from what we were used to, but I think I captured a little of the blessing of Christmas; still I want more.

Next year, things will be different.