Wednesday, November 30, 2011

First Things First

I wrote this post in response to BlogHer's Life Well Lived Getting Happy question, "What are some of your best tips for surviving the season of parties, celebrations and family get-togethers." I encourage you to click on over - and enter to win a $250 Visa Gift Card. A little extra cash right now won't hurt anyone!

The Christmas season is upon us, the time of year we envision evenings by the fireplace, sipping hot chocolate and singing Christmas carols with family and friends gathered ‘round. But reality is often light years away from the serene scene. Even though I start December with every intention of focusing on the reason for the season, by the middle of the month I’m flying through stores, desperately trying to remember everyone on my list. Heck, I’m desperately trying to find my list.

So what happens between December 1 and December 20 that takes me from a carol-singing festive mom to a caffeinated, stressed out holiday shopper? Poor planning. Sometimes it really is as simple as that. Remember that list I mentioned? It doesn’t exist. I’ve always thought list people were uptight types who couldn’t go with the flow. It’s taken 19 years living with a calm, focused yet fun list person to show me the error of my non-list ways. This December I really am making a list and checking it twice. (I just hope I can keep up with it.)

When I do feel a bit crazed by the commercialization of it all, it does me good to remember what we’re actually celebrating. This is not some generic, American holiday. This is the celebration of the babe born to save. A quick recollection of Luke 2 helps put things in perspective.

This December I am actually going to make to-do lists (I’m sure my husband is thrilled and amazed and skeptical). And to avoid letting Madison Avenue steal the joy of the birthday celebration from me, I’m going to read a bit of Luke every day this December. The story of the baby born in a manger, who grows up to lay down his life – pretty sure focusing on that will keep the reason for the season front and center.  

I find I’m especially drawn to this song this Christmas season. Yes, it’s by Amy Grant, but more than that, the words are exactly how I feel. (It might send you to YouTube - just know it's worth a listen.)