Today's post is by Steady Mom contributor Eren of Vintage Chica.
The turkey leftovers aren’t frozen solid in the freezer before we have moved on to the next holiday. For our family, that is Christmas!
Every year I think I will keep it simple. I tell myself, “This year we’re not going crazy."
Some years I succeed. Other years, I have to admit, I get sucked in.
I read too many blogs touting “easy” ways to make your holiday more meaningful, which is really just one or two more things I need to add to my list. I see “simple” instructions on how to make matching handmade gifts. I find a recipe that is guaranteed to be a hit at the holiday party.
We all get sucked in sometimes.
As moms our job is to orchestrate a holiday season that is not only fun, but meaningful. It is our job to create warm memories that will carry our little ones well into their adult lives. We are all trying to share a love of family and friends and something bigger than ourselves with our children. We all feel the pressure to create the perfect holiday.
But last year I learned (once again) that the meaning of Christmas is not found in the latest Lego set to hit the shelves or the perfect sugar cookie recipe with real vanilla bean shavings.
Christmas 2009 began with a phone call the day after Thanksgiving from my husband who was deployed to Iraq. He said he had good news and bad news. He told us that the good news was that he was coming home from deployment early. The bad news was that he had torn his Achilles tendon and would have to have surgery as soon as he was stateside.
(Of all of the ways he could have come home, we were grateful that he was not injured in battle and coming home in worse shape.)
Almost as soon as he uttered these words over the static-filled phone, all of my plans for a picture perfect Christmas went out the window.
We were rushed into a whirlwind of doctor’s consultations, surgery, trips to the drugstore and administering pain medications.
As a result I had a laundry list of things that did NOT happen.
The lights did not get hung outside on the house.
I did not make the bus driver the banana bread I had told her I would.
Our Christmas party was cancelled.
The boys did not get their obligatory photo with Santa taken.
Teachers did not get gifts like I had planned. Christmas cards were not mailed out.
The major shopping was postponed.
Instead our holiday was stripped down bare and a bit raw.
We were homebound.
We listened to Christmas music. We read books together. We did put the tree up, with help from friends.
I sent out an email to close family and friends that explained what had happened. Told them that instead of mailing out cards, we were sitting on the couch together drinking hot cocoa thinking of how blessed we were to be home together. Blessed to have so many friends helping us through that difficult time.
I just read a book by Shauna Niequist called Bittersweet. In one of the chapters she talks about “thin spaces.” Where the distance between the Divine and ourselves is shorter. Where you feel closer to something bigger than you could orchestrate. Where you feel part of something truly special and…well, to be honest…holy.
This is how I felt last Christmas. Most everything that “IS” Christmas was stripped away and only the most holy things were left. Family and friends, and being thankful, snuggling and reading and cooking and drinking cocoa. Being together.
(Yes, in my book hot cocoa can be holy.)
We were forced into a thin space. And although I was sad at first, it was one of the most special and memorable Christmas seasons I have ever had.
So here is a bit of encouragement to you all.
If you don’t get it all done.
If the cards don’t go out.
If the gifts aren’t completed on time.
If you don’t make it to the party.
You and your family are still sitting in a thin space. A space where the divine is so close you could reach out and touch it.
Sit in it. Revel in it. Roll around in it with your children. Talk. Cook. Walk. Sit.
We create the most important memories by living in the thin spaces.
When Eren is not at the local thrift store, she can be found barefoot in her backyard garden or at the sewing machine. Eren shows how she puts a little vintage into modern day living at her blog, Vintage Chica.