Twisterfish put it kindly in a comment on my post about cutting down on my self-imposed Christmas expectations. "This seems to be the theme for the year for many people, myself included," she said.
Let's sing it all together: "I'm doin' NUTTIN' for Christmas!"
It's a heady decision, to decide that some seasonal traditions have moved from the meaningful to the burdensome side of the balance, and that they must be taken off the scales or everything will crash into stress and chaos. So we decide to not decorate sugar cookies. Or we limit the number of parties we'll attend. Or we take ourselves out of the running for Mother Who Makes the Best Home-Crafted Gifts and hand Johnny's teacher a gift card to Applebee's.
It feels good, this decision that the season is more important than the stuff.
And still. Still.
We weep at the news coverage from Connecticut, first thinking of the children, then of the parents, then of the town, then of the entire nation that despite our best intentions remains imperfect. We mourn and once again are reminded that we are not in control. The school had done everything it could imagine to guard against this, the unimaginable, and still....
We find ourselves fretting about whether we've pared down enough. Have we cut out enough I-HAVE-TO-DO-THIS items that we can enjoy the peace of the season with our family and friends? We hope we have,and still....
What we forget is that Christmas peace is not an entitlement, it is a gift, and "every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of heavenly Lights, who does not change with shifting shadows."*
We are not entitled to any of His gifts, but in spite of our imperfections and inability to get things right, the Father of heavenly Lights sends us the good and perfect: Peace. Joy. His Son.
This is what we're preparing for, waiting for, and I pray those gifts for all.