For some reason, complicated Christmas decorations, gift wrapping, dinners and parties, are too much. Maybe it's because of the busyness of the end of the year, busyness around the holiday itself, busyness of trying to be in the Christmas spirit. There's something beautiful about simplicity that feels right. Simple sounds create a peaceful thread through the air, simple menus make it easy to feel healthy, simple shopping creates a stress free kind of giving. Simple designs on a cake, simple strands of sparkling lights on the tree, simple ornaments with simple memories attached, simple messages on a Christmas card. If I stay with the complicated, everything moves too fast, moments are missed instead of savored, the focus is on something other than right now.
I heard this quote, and perhaps you have, too, it said that "yesterday is the past, tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why they call it the present." Don't know the author, but it has stuck with me. Today feels like a gift, regardless of whether it's perfect or not. Everything around the holidays doesn't have to be Martha-Stewart-perfect, with every ornament in the exact right place, every piece of tinsel hanging straight, the dinner table set perfectly, every recipe made as if you hired a chef and every gift wrapped with bows and evergreen stems. It's the moments, the seconds, the minutes that are perfect. It's the present that is not to be missed. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, and whoever is around you at that time. That's what is perfect. It's the remembrance of the meaning of the celebration that is perfect. It is the appreciation and thankfulness for all the blessings we have that is perfect. It's the acceptance of where God has brought us through this year and the resting in what He is doing at this very moment, that is more than perfect. It's hearing a voice on the phone if you can't be with family, it's the sharing of Christmas cards with love, it's the giving of ourselves, our attention to others and our noticing those around us, it's serving others and thinking less about ourselves, it's giving others hope that their present is just as perfect.
Today, for me, didn't start off perfect. This whole week hasn't been perfect. In fact, even though I challenged myself to blog Christmas songs, I am in serious risk of losing the Christmas spirit myself. I see all that's going on in the world, I hear about families who are burdened and troubled, I know people who are going to be alone and I can't help them. My hyper-sensitivity won't let me rest in the moment and plan for a celebration. But I came home today and Michael had set up a 9ft tree in our family room, had a fire burning in the wood stove, and asked me if we could decorate tomorrow night. I'd all but decided that it wasn't worth it. It wouldn't make a difference, and it just didn't count. But, I succumbed to the idea that I could give a little more of myself and turn it into the festive atmosphere we so love at this time of year. I also heard it's supposed to snow, a lot, on Saturday. I know that some gifts need to be bought, wrapped and shipped. I keep seeing pictures of Christmas cookies and want to bake. So many traditions. So little time. But we do have the present and can think about what to do in this moment. For sure, we will do what we can do. And whatever it is, it will be perfect.
This is something I put together, with photo memories from last years Christmas with all our children and grandchildren in Lake Geneva, along with some friends and family. This year won't be quite like that, but the memories make it a lot easier and simply perfect.
Christmas Lake Geneva - The Simple Birth