Thursday, December 2, 2010

Bigger Picture Moment: Christmas, Unscrambled


Are you?
In one week, my baby will be five years old --

(Baby curls, powdered scent, dimpled fingers, squishy thighs, bundled snug, diapered bum, crawling knees, gurgled giggles, milky smile, rocked asleep: baby.  But I'm not going to focus on all of that right now.  Here I go: unfocusing.) 

-- and I'm in the middle of some pretty low-key party preparations.  This weekend we'll have our extended family over to celebrate, and though the party is nothing major, it still requires me to dash madly about the premises in turbo-cleaning mode.  (To be clear: I HAVE NO TURBO CLEANING MODE.  See the problem?)

So in the midst of deciding upon the perfect decorations and cake (a rainbow cake, as requested 11 months ago), I'm noticing what I notice every year at this time: Christmas.  Here it is -- a house across town with a grossly inflated Santa on its lawn; lighting the first advent candle; the twinkling lights spanning our roofline; presents hidden atop a box of maternity clothes in the closet; carols sung by boy bands or (preferably) a member of The Rat Pack.  Christmas is ready to be anticipated.

But I'm not ready to anticipate Christmas.

Spiritually, yes.  I feel the lightness in preparing my soul for the coming birth.  But...socially?... culturally?... I'm not there yet; I'm still languishing behind, stuck on my daughter's birthday celebration.  And next weekend, we're having a party for her friends -- something we've never done before -- since this is the big f-i-v-e: her birthday is monopolizing the first half of December.

For the past several years I've felt something like rush and catch up and scramble in order to align myself with the Christmas march.  The first two-ish weeks of December are always dedicated to the planning and execution of Mia's party, and that leaves me with only! two! weeks! to get most of my Christmas preparations together.  And I've worried about it -- dreaded the stampede towards Christmas Eve, because there's so much to cram into so little time, and it can't be natural to wish your child's birthday didn't interfere with the all-important Christmas set-up!

But now -- this week, in fact -- I've stopped. 

I don't plan to see how much I can cram into the two weeks after Mia's birthday.  In fact, I've noticed great benefits to having her birthday plunked right down in the middle of this loud season.  It means I have to ignore the noise.  It means I'm forced to disregard much of the chaos.  It means I can willingly overlook the tendency I might have to overdo the season, which would lead to mistaking its purpose entirely. 

I can continue to quietly acknowledge the advent of Our Savior, preparing my heart for Christmas, without becoming overwhelmed with the rush of it all.

It turns out that my daughter's birthday is an invitation to slow down before Christmas -- one more reason to celebrate her birth.



Have you seen the Bigger Picture this week?  Link it up with Hyacynth!

11 comments:

  1. What a great way to view your daughter's birthday. I know I would be overcome with stress having it that close to Christmas, but really you are so wise to see it as an opportunity to slow down and focus on the advent season. It's a great reminder to myself to slow it down too and drown out all the noise for awhile.

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  2. This is great! I also worry a bit about our daughter's birthday being so close to Christmas, so this is a great outlook for me to try to adopt!

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  3. You are awesome. I, too, would be a mess trying to make both my child's birthday and Christmas one huge, amazing bonanza of celebration. I totally admire how you've been able to step back and enjoy both events for what they are.

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  4. Slow down at Christmas - what a foreign concept in our culture. I think it gets off to a bad start with the craziness of Black Friday and Christmas decorations up by Halloween. I know I need to take a breath and focus on the true meaning of Christmas, thanks for the reminder!

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  5. Twitter just suggested that I follow you. So I clicked through and then onto this and I'm so glad I did. Such a lovely, poignant post. Slowing down. Heeding the call of quiet solitude and not the call of cattle-call shopping. Just lovely. Thank you.

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  6. What a great perspective on it!

    (Also, I have no turbo-cleaning mode either. Can I sign up to have one installed?)

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  7. Uh- a.m.e.n sister! How fortunate for you and Miss Mia that her birthday is in December. What a lovely time of year. Still. Quiet. Enjoy! Savor this time with your soon to be 5 year old. She will only turn 5 once! You have got it nailed on the head. We should all slow down. December is a month to be treasured, not to be frenzied. I'm lovin this post chica. It fits right into my ideal for the love of the season.

    Happy EARLY birthday to your Mia!

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  8. So apparently we're all drinking the same holiday tea this week...slowing down, finding the light...people are going to think we planned our posts :-)

    Happy early Birthday!

    He will do whatever it takes to remind us to slow down...and show us what's important!

    (it's kind of weird/creepy that right now my captcha word is CULTS)

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  9. I don't think I could agree more about the need to sloooow down during this season.

    I have purposefully for the past few years decided to not committ to much after the first week of December.
    It helps prepare my heart.

    What a gift you have with the timing of Mia's birth.

    {Also, the baby paragraph -- it made me nearly tear up.}

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  10. yay for slowing down and celebrating. enjoy this advent:)

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  11. Simply beautiful. And, I'm glad to see that I'm not alone in lacking a turbo cleaning mode.

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Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?