In late October I visited a Winter Wonderland a few hours away from our home.  There was thick, fluffy snow falling down on the pine trees, Christmas carols, snowball fights, and busses getting stuck in the snow.  Listening to “Christmas songs being sung by the choir” while the snow fell outside all I could think of is “Christmas is here, Christmas is now”.  I closed my eyes and let it all wash over me, I let everything go and held on to the peace and wonder of Love come down.  Renewed and refreshed, I was filled with contentment and – for once – ready to go home.  The whole experience was just so beautiful and it filled my heart with wonder and awe of Christmas that I knew as a child…and some how lost.

When did Christmas lose it’s magic for me?  It wasn’t even about the presents because we didn’t get that many, it was about the atmosphere, the peace and sense of hope that came with the music and the tree and decorations every year.  Christmas was peace in a time of despair, a ray of hope in the darkness.  I’m thinking that Christmas is a heart-set more than a mind-set, but something changed – what was it?

Christmas didn’t change, I changed…  I stopped believing, I lost my hope.  Where is it?  I want it back!  The joy, the magic, the hope, the belief, everything, I want it back…  How does one wounded, worn-down and very weary grown-up get back to having the awe and wonder of a child?  It is not in my strength to accomplish, especially when it is barely in my heart to desire anymore.

Christmas carols, baking cookies and making candies, visiting with family that you hardly ever see, decorating the tree and having parties – these are the things that make up the basic traditions of Christmas, right?  So this year, I am trying once again to go through the motions in hopes that they will awaken something in my heart.  So far it’s the 9th of December and I don’t know that I’m feeling much yet but I will be helping one of my daughters have a choir Christmas party this weekend and all her friends love me and call me “Mom” so I’m hoping the joy of being around people who like being around me will help restore some of that Christmas spirit…or perhaps a glimmer of any spirit at all.

Awe and wonder, child-like faith, unconditional trust, genuine love, these are things I feel like I had as a child and have had them torn out of me as I grew up.  Or maybe I gave them up in order to build my defensive walls – not knowing the true cost of protecting myself was losing myself.  Bilbo Baggins said in The Lord of the Rings “I feel thin, like butter scraped over too much bread” and that is a very apt description of where I have been for a long time now.  I feel like I need to gather myself together, to bring everything that I think I am and what I think I love into one spot to examine them.  To ask “Is this truly me?”  When I go through my house to de-clutter I always have three piles:  “To Keep”, “To Give Away” and “To Throw Away” but when one goes through their heart the only options are “Keep” and “Toss”.  Unfortunately the “Toss” pile tends to primarily consist of things I don’t want to be any more, not actually things that I genuinely am not.  The pieces in the “Toss” bin that are a part of me whether I want them or not are the products of my life choices and therefore must be consciously un-chosen in order to remove their power over me, not merely discarded like a sweater donated to the GoodWill.  It is hard to un-choose a choice that has become a habit and so much a part of my personality that other people define me by them.

This Christmas will be an whirlwind of activities…in seven days we will drive over 1200 miles and visit my father and step-mother, my brothers and sister, friends, my husband’s family, and then back home.  After which I have to get up early and go to work the very next day – I’m going to need a vacation from my vacation, ugh!  Maybe we’ve made Christmas too hectic and don’t have time for the magic anymore…but how do we stop being busy?  Or perhaps the bigger question is how do we stop being so busy without offending all of our friends and relatives?  Christmas is supposed to be a time to share love and laughter, not hunker down and wait for the candy cane hurricane to pass and yet that’s all I want to do, this year and for the last several years.  I guess I’ll see what this holiday season brings…

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