Thursday, December 06, 2007

Christmas and Falling Angels

Tonight I'm taking stock of how I'm surviving the Christmas craziness this year. So far I'm doing okay, which only means that I'm not too stressed.

The tree came down out of the attic and Paul set it up. Tiffany-Amber and Victoria decorated it and loved doing so. I enjoyed watching them. The angel, having fallen off every time I put her up, is standing beside the tree.

I bought chocolate letters, a Dutch tradition! But I haven't written a single card yet, and I don't know if I will. I haven't done any more decorating, even though my team is coming here tomorrow for a Christmas lunch, and at the back of my mind I feel a little like someone going on vacation with no luggage packed.

All of our neighbours seem to have their Christmas lights up already, but our house is distinctly plain and un-Christmassy. Paul was too busy getting ready for his trip north, to get our lights up. I'm enjoying other people's lights though--they don't have to be on our house.

I would love to have the house decorated and to know that cards are on the way to all of my friends and family. How wonderful it would be if I had done all of my shopping and even wrapped it, but I have accepted the fact that I may not get all of that stuff done this year, which has been extraordinarily busy.

I'm managing to separate Christmas from it's trappings--the traditions that sometimes overwhelm us by feeling as if they are essential. I will still do my best to get cards written if things slow down enough to do so, but this year I am aiming for a more relaxed anticipation of Christmas and a simpler celebration.

This weekend six grandchildren will gather to decorate Christmas cookies in my kitchen, with all of the riotous fun that their parents enjoyed each Christmas of their childhood. There will be more sugar eaten on its way to the cookies than on them and hands and faces will glow red and green. The sugar cookie dough is already made and waiting in the freezer. The children will remember making the cookies. They won't notice if the house isn't decorated!

I'm reminded of an article I read in England in October. I quoted from it before in a different context, but I think it's relevant here and worth sharing part of it again:

When it comes to juggling things, never forget that there are glass balls and rubber balls. And the glass balls are the ones that you cannot drop—they smash and can’t be repaired. So it’s not about not dropping the ball—it’s about not dropping the wrong ball, the glass ball...
Lesley Stahl, one of the anchors on 60 Minutes Live

I think that in the context of Christmas, the rubber balls are the things that I may not get done. The glass balls are being with family and friends and most of all, simply meditating on the coming of Christ into this world.

John 1:1-5 (New Living Translation)
Prologue: Christ, the Eternal Word
1 In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
2 He existed in the beginning with God.
3 God created everything through him,
and nothing was created except through him.
4 The Word gave life to everything that was created,
and his life brought light to everyone.
5 The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness can never extinguish it.


Angcat said...

Dear Belinda,
There are so many thoughts running through my head as I finish reading your post. I'll try to make sense.
Going to your house for Manager's Christmas parties was never about the decorating, it was about being loved, appreciated and having a Christmas story read by you, to us. It was about being all together, eating, laughing and rejoicing in the coming of our King.
The lack of glass lights on your home doesn't diminish the warm light of Christ you bring wherever you go. In fact, it may emphasize the difference. Not that I have anything against decorating. I'm doing it too, but it is so easy to lose focus in the rush and bustle. I'm often hard put to find a cheery face in the malls at this time of year..."the most wonderful time of the year...".
Have fun with your six little ones. What a wonderful idea.
I love you and appreciate so much how you spill His presence on me, and everyone.
I guess the thing I really looked forward to at your parties was the Yorkshire Pudding...yum

Belinda said...

Dearest Ang,
Your dear husband Frank was such a blessing, leading crazy games of Scattergories and Madgab and making us laugh so much that I though my stomach would not stop aching.

Another precious memory made. Thank you for your wonderful words and I will see you at the Writers Nest Christmas party. :)