Every year, shortly after Christmas, I sit down to reflect on the previous season. I do it while the memory is still fresh in my mind. What went well. What needs to change. What I liked. What I missed.
This year I really had trouble finding things I would change. My best friend moved away, so we didn’t get to make cookies together. I missed that. But we made plans to bake cookies via Skype next year. (Thank you Dan for that idea. You could have come up with it sooner, but it’s still a good idea.) We didn’t go to see any lights. But, we did stop by one of the local nurseries to watch their display that coordinated with music.
Otherwise, it was just about a perfect Christmas. Which makes me wonder. What exactly made it so terrific? First, I got to see both my boys. Not both on the 25th. Not even on the same day, but I still got to see them in person. Jacob spent Christmas with his in-laws in Chehallis and the Carlsons graciously invited us up for Christmas. So we bundled into the car on the 25th and made it in time to have snacks before dinner.
Henry came home on the 30th, so we had “Christmas” on the 31st. Through the miracle of technology, we were even able to include Jacob and Shawna in the fun. I wasn’t quite the same, but still quite good.
But there was more to this fabulous Christmas. I was calm. If you know me, you know that I am already planning for next Christmas (355 days) because I don’t want to feel so rushed that I miss the joy. But usually I still have a few times that I am just crazy. I feel overwhelmed and panic about all I need to get done. I don’t know why I do that. It really doesn’t help. In fact, it makes it harder because I’m not getting anything done when I’m having a meltdown and then I don’t get anything done while I get calm again.
But this year, it just did not happen. It was the most peaceful Christmas I can remember ever having. Granted, it was helped by not having little kids at home. We do have our foster son, but he does not create a lot of Christmas craziness. But that hasn’t stopped me from being crazy in the past.
Fall was rough on me. There were many things that went wrong and came out of nowhere to make keeping up feel impossible. It was not fun and I felt like a mess much of the time. I certainly did not feel like someone who was a good representative of what a Jesus follower looks like. I didn’t want to be that way, but I just couldn’t seem to get myself on solid footing. And then I read this statement by Graham Cooke: You don’t become a new person by changing your behavior. You focus on who you already are in Christ and behave accordingly.
Since who I actually am is a woman who trusts Jesus, I’ve been practicing acting like one. It’s amazing how that little shift can make such a difference. I would never have believed it could, but I’m living proof. So, this Christmas, when things didn’t go as planned and I was tempted to panic, I reminded myself to act like I trusted Jesus. I didn’t have to feel like I trusted him, just act that way. And it worked!!
Doing that helped me to focus more on Jesus and less on the crazy. I LOVE Christmas music and listen to it throughout the year. But this year, it didn’t hold the attraction for me. I just didn’t want to listen to Jingle Bells and I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas. Instead, I found playlists of Advent Songs on YouTube. It was so relaxing and really focused my mind on Jesus, who really was my Prince of Peace.
This was a wonderful Christmas. So wonderful, in fact, that I am still feeling the peace of the season. I want to keep this feeling. It is just such a better way to be.