Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Fantasy of Getting Ahead

I feel like I either took a really long nap after the Thanksgiving turkey OR I was secretly placed on a supersonic jet speed treadmill and just fell off into the middle of December. I mean, what happened to all my plans of being ahead of the game this year? After all, I actually bought Christmas presents in early November - something that may, quite frankly, make my family question my sanity.

After a couple of hours at my desk tonight doing one of the most dreaded chores (catching up the checkbook register and totalling those Christmas shopping receipts from the weekend) I am feeling more than a little frazzled. I had a wonderful day on Saturday with my oldest granddaughter on our annual girls' day out. We looked for clothes, etc. that she likes, she tried on several outfits, and I made a list. Even took pictures of some things just so I could be sure to remember what to look for when I go back to buy. I took the opportunity to buy some of the items on another granddaughter's wish list. Then on Monday evening, I was back out to pick up a couple of things on the list made Saturday. I was feeling pretty good about how much I've been able to accomplish. A little online shopping for the adults was making this whole buying presents thing a lot easier also.

Then I got out my little notebook where I track my gift buying and added the weekend purchases to each person's list. Hmm. All of a sudden, it doesn't seem like I am ahead at all. Not when I look at the calendar and let it settle into my brain that I really only have one more weekend to shop. We will celebrate an early Christmas with our Indy family on Dec. 20 so I have to wrap this up (in more than one way!) in pretty short order. That's when the stress level began to rise. My brain went from thinking about the gifts I still need to buy to adding to my mental to-do list all those other things I still need to do. More decorating to be done, Christmas cards that I have yet to start addressing, gifts to be wrapped, Christmas programs with grandchildren to attend, meals to plan and shop for...........with each thought stress rises.

And I was so determined to have a simple and relaxing Christmas this year. What happened? Is is a lost cause?

As soon as I began to put my thoughts into the written word, I slowed down enough to hear a whisper. To feel a nudge. From the One we celebrate. A reminder to refocus on Him and the wonderful gift I received through His birth, life, death and resurrection. If all those other things don't get done but I spend time with Him, with my family & friends, and others that He brings into my life each day I will have celebrated Christmas in a most wonderful way. It is hard for my perfectionist side to leave something undone. I feel guilty if Christmas cards don't go out along with a nice chatty note. If some decorations stay in the closet, I think people who helped stock that collection will think I care less about them since I didn't displya their gift. Y'all, I can flat feel guilty over just about anything and everything! I have begun to realize, though, that all that doing,stressing, and feeling guilty (or exhausted)does one thing and that is draw me away from Christ.

So, I am going to bed now with a calmer mind. I am letting go of my self imposed need to figure out right now exactly when & where I am going to shop & what I am going to buy. I'm going to spend some time talking with Jesus and then listening for His tender words. I will do tomorrow when tomorrow comes and trust Him to help me keep Christmas simply what it is really about. The birth of our Savior.

I pray that you will do that as well. Every day, when your to-do list seems overwhelming. When you feel the stress level going up because you can't find that one gift your child thinks he simply must have. When your overcrowded schedule gets yet another activity crammed into it. Take a moment to refocus on Jesus. To reflect on what we are celebrating. May His peace and His love rest upon you, sweet friends.

Merry Christmas!
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