Tuesday, December 03, 2013



I haven't had the mental energy necessary to blog much lately.  I wish I had, because I compose blog posts in my head all the time.  But, life is the main attraction, and sometimes writing about life falls by the wayside.  Which is fine.  There are seasons for everything.

Speaking of seasons - we've just ushered in my favorite time of the year:  Christmas.  I love the lights and the festivities and the general merriment and magic.  The music is so hummable and conjures up warm memories.  I love having a fire with stockings silhouetted by the flames.  I love the different nativity sets that we have out at the house and the way the girls are so excited about Jesus' birthday.  (And decorating trees - they are pretty obsessed with decorating trees, but I must say they come by that naturally enough.)

But things feel different this year.  My eyes seem to well with tears often these days.  Everything inside of me feels a little raw.  Though I can't point to any one thing, life does pile up.  It could be the lack of sleep.  (Probably has a lot to do with it.)  It could be the string of hard news for those around me.  It could be the stress of doing life in these days with very young children - a lot of people in my house are usually on the verge of tears.

I can't seem to shake the sense that things in the world are skewed.  That life is hard.  Though my house is lit up for Christmas, my heart feels a little cold.  (If that isn't a downer of a sentence, I don't know what is.)

I see a million posts on Facebook and blogs about how to make this the Most Meaningful Christmas Ever and how to Stuff the Stockings just right and how to have the best Elf on the Shelf and how to Make the Cutest Ornaments and Teach My Kids to Be the Best Givers to All the People Who Need It.  And I want to do it all.  My flesh is so drawn to trying to micro-manage this holiday into something "perfect" and "pinnable" and "bloggable."

I almost didn't write this post at all, because it feels so cliche' to say that I feel over it all while at the same time wanting it all.  I am so very conflicted.  I spent a good hour or so last night searching online for cute, matching Christmas clothes for my kiddos to wear.  I debated on how much to spend.  I kept thinking that the next website would have a better deal or options I liked more.  I thought that maybe I should just make some myself, and then I remembered that I don't have time to do that for four kids at this current juncture when feeding twins is all consuming.

This is how the holiday can be wasted for me.  Having cute Christmas clothes is not bad, and I did end up ordering some I really like.  But, it's so easy for me to waste my time and mental energy in ways that don't really matter.  Why is it so hard to feel like I am getting it right?  Am I getting it right at all?

Jesus is the reason for the season, as the saying goes.  We celebrate his birthday and make a big deal about all things Christmas, because we make a big deal about all birthdays at our house, and his is certainly the most important one.  The traditions matter.  Advent matters.  Teaching my children about the miracle of Christ coming down matters.  Forcing myself to see that miracle more clearly is critical.  More Jesus is always the right answer.

Living in the tension is not pleasant, but I do believe it is where the refining happens.  Maybe next year I will be farther along in this journey and able to let more of the fluffy stuff go in lieu of the deep stuff.  Or maybe next year I will be able to relish more of the freedom that Christ gives us and be a bit more joyful in the magic of the fluff.  Even as I read through this post, I wonder how much of it makes sense and how many ways that I make life harder than it needs to be.

But it is what it is.  I love all the fun of Christmas.  I love Jesus more.  Someday, probably in Heaven, it will all make more sense, and my heart will be at peace.  Until then, I am facing the fact that Holiday Tension is undeniable.  I know my heart will warm up with a bit more sleep (please, Lord), and a lot more of the real reason for the season.


Natalie Clark said...

Oh I love, love, love this post!!! I am so with you!! And last year with Oliver being so sick all year, nonstop crying and the sleep deprivation- I was (still haven't gone back to 'normal') so emotional. I really understand the first part of your post. Us mommas need some sleep!!! Luckily those stages are only for a season- sometimes a long season- but I think as we grow as moms and women- we can get to where we embrace the fluff more while still and maybe because we still know the reason we celebrate and have JOY!!! I think the post was just so good and worth writing. Clay and I were just saying how Thanksgiving and Christmas are our favorite times of the year, but can be the most stressful and hardest and sometimes bring out the worst... Now that doesn't seem to make sense, but maybe it does?

Thanks for posting and being real. My best friend and I always laugh and joke about people's "instagram life" our own included. It isn't always a lie by any means, but it certainly isn't the full picture.

Maybe I should do a post now? Haha- I need to be around more adults!!!! AGHHHH!

Leslie Harris said...

Thank you for your honesty here. You managed to bravely put into words what I could not. You are not alone in feeling this way. My husband and I became foster parents through the CALL this year, and last week we got a placement that is taking all of my energy, while still working as a high school teacher. I want Christmas to be magical for them, but it just doesn't feel the same. It has always been a special time for me, but now I seem too focused on getting our 22 month old to make eye contact and drink milk to stop and enjoy the season. I'm praying both our hearts are warmed and softened so we can enjoy this Christmas season!

Kelcie Huffstickler said...

Thanks for posting this. It's so relatable. You're not alone!