In the days and weeks leading up to December 25th, we often hear this question. Initially, I ask myself if I've finished my shopping, if I've sent out my Christmas cards, if I've stocked up on our favorite treats, and if I've delivered the last of our "neighbor gifts." But this Christmas, I'm thinking about it a different way.
When I was in high school, my mom spoke in our church meeting about being "ready" for Christmas. She said that even though she might not have all the "things" prepared, she is always ready to celebrate the birth of our Savior. She challenged all of us to focus on the purpose of the holiday and the love that our Savior has for us. Are we "ready" for Him?
This year, I decided I wouldn't let stress enter the holiday season (you can read "My First GTD Christmas" guest post on David Allen's blog here).
We didn't send out Christmas cards (hopefully next year!), we didn't put out all the decorations, we didn't start the 53 traditions I have in my "Someday" folder, and we didn't make it to all the parties that we ordinarily love to attend.
I know for some people, our Christmas probably looks like a failure. What? No lights on your roof? No matching Christmas outfits? No ornament exchange?
Christmas traditions are great things, and I'm looking forward to many years of magical family memories centered around this special holiday, but I've had to put my sanity first this year, and I simply can't do everything.
My husband and I have had a lot on our minds these past few months, and our three-year-old likes to scream a lot. Our schedules have been filled with a variety of responsibilities with our family, work, and church, and some great new opportunities have opened up at The Power of Moms (publishing a book, writing for Deseret News, marketing the Mind Organization for Moms program I put together . . .).
To compensate for all this, we've slowed down in other areas. We're still doing what we can to reach out and help others this season, we're singing hymns around the piano with our children, we're sharing our feelings of love for God, and we're reading the scriptures together each day. We've also made time to decorate a tree with our homemade ornaments, make "candy cane airplanes," let the children buy gifts for each other at the dollar store, and send little packages to the grandparents.
This Christmas won't be memorable because of our photo ops. It won't be memorable because of our travels. It won't be memorable because of all the "big ticket items" our children got for Christmas.
This Christmas will be memorable because the Lord is absolutely taking care of our family, and our love for Him has grown. Sometimes I wonder how we're going to "pull all this off." I know I'm not as smart as I need to be, and I know I need to be refined in MANY areas of my life, but at the same time, I feel such love and support from the Lord.
Today, as I was driving our children to church (we meet Daddy there because he has other meetings), I was having a hard time dealing with the fussing, tattling, whining, etc. I do try not to cry in front of them, but the tears came too easily. My three oldest children could see my distress, so they opened their scriptures and each sweetly shared a verse with me--as a way to apologize for their behavior and to try to cheer me up (Alia found a verse about "weeping"). When we got home from church, my girls put sliced cucumbers on my eyes, rubbed lotion on my hands and feet, and sent me to bed at 6:30. I am so, so grateful for those tender mercies (I did finally stop crying).
We've got a busy week ahead of us--with excited children who seriously don't notice how much we're "not" doing--and although it might seem like the holiday festivities have escaped me, I really am ready for Christmas.