For some reason I have been dragging my feet through the whole Christmas process this year. Now what is that about? I love Christmas and all the preparations and always have. I understand that is not true for everyone and that Christmas can be a very difficult time for many, but for the most part that has not been my story. True, like everyone else I can feel overwhelmed and wonder how IT will all get done. I wonder how many times in our married life my husband has said, "Don't worry, it all gets done, " and I have responded, not kindly, "True, that's because I do IT." Not that he is an innocent bystander. Over the years he has been an active participant in the Christmas Express, but I am clearly the engineer and the conductor. And I love those roles.
What's the difference this year? Why, for example, have I completed a task, such as going to the post office with packages that need to be mailed, and then come home and stretched out on my chaise with a good book, instead of wrapping additional packages? Why have I agreed so easily to go out for a movie on Friday night, instead of staying home to write our annual Christmas letter? I have told friends I feel as if I am stuck in low gear this year. I speed up only with great reluctance. I have even been doing some chores typically reserved for January, such as cleaning my closet and taking loads to Goodwill. How is that possible with all that needs to be done?
The answer seems to be "because I can." I finally realized that I am not so much "reluctant," as "relaxed," and I can be relaxed because I no longer have as much to do as I did in the years when I was working fulltime and the kids were still living at home. The calendar used to burst with church and school activities and dates for entertaining and concerts and parties and responsibilities for volunteering and somehow laundry and grocery shopping and bathroom cleaning still needed to be done. How did I manage it and how do my children manage it now?
Sitting for 20 minutes of centering prayer one recent morning allowed me to reframe my response to this full time of year. Yes, I am in low gear, but not because I don't have enough energy or because I have managed one too many Christmases or because I have the all too common "Christmas Blues." I am not reluctant to enter the joys of the season. Far from it. Instead, I am in a new stage of my life--one not driven by busyness and other peoples' schedules and needs. I have incredible freedom to enjoy and treasure the gifts of these days. No, I am not reluctant. I am relaxed.
I think I'll fix a cup of cocoa and read a couple chapters in the mystery I started this weekend before I return to addressing Christmas cards.