This Feeling…

Christmas day is past. New Years has been celebrated. It was a rush. It was a good/normal Christmas. Family got on each others nerves, but we had a blast doing it. One thing was missing. Yes we celebrated the birth of Christ. One of my favorite traditions is when my dad reads the Christmas story to us all before we open gifts. I can probably quote it, but it never gets old. However, one thing was missing. Its a hard thing to explain. Everyone celebrates it differently. This year it just didn’t feel like Christmas. I guess you could say the magic feeling wasn’t there. I was focused on the wrong things. I was sad that my daughter didn’t get as many gifts as her cousins. It took a six year old to remind me that it wasn’t about that. When I asked if she was ok that her cousins were opening more gifts than she was, she says in a wisdom past her age, “Daddy, my gift was special to me, and I know it cost a lot of money. I am happy with what I got.” She clearly takes after her mom.
But I think with this last year I have had, with the questions about my own faith, church and myself I even lost the joy you get with Christmas. Not just the stress of money, but the joy over all. Until yesterday.
We are at a cabin, away from the world. We are having Christmas with my wife’s family a little late. Everyone was doing something. Playing games, watching tv or just catching up. I have an obsession with Christmas trees. I think they all tell a story. Rather the decorator means for it to or not. Years written on ornaments, pictures, funny ones little kids that are now adults have made. I look at trees and their detail. I was sitting on the couch, looking at the tree, just soaking it in. It was the typical Christmas scene. Huge window behind me with trees covered with snow, huge decorated tree, and flannel blanket keeping me warm. I sat there for about ten minutes completely alone. Yes the house was full but I felt like I was alone. Not in a lonely way, but peaceful. I just sat and looked at the tree and prayed in my head, just a few more minutes. Let me feel this way a few more minutes. No stress, no depression, just contentment and thankfulness for my life, family and this moment. It was a pure feeling. I liked it.
My 5 year old came and crawled on my lap and wanted me to play with her, so my focus was changed. But it was a good thing. Nice to be reminded from time to time that its not always about you, and that the busyness of life will pass. Even if just for ten minutes, its what this fella needed.

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I Need a Silent Night….

That feeling at the start of a race. Your heart is racing, you look to your left and right at the competitive people beside you, and just wait for the race to begin. It starts and everyone takes off as fast as you can. Except me, I just walked and observed. I don’t do the black friday shopping. I don’t like people enough to be out in public that late at night with a bunch of selfish people who have to get yet another tv to add to their already 3 tv home. I mean if it’s for you, great have fun, not my idea of a good time. Nothing will put me in the Scrooge mood more than this. How do I know this? Well I broke my rules this year. I went out on Black Friday with a friend just to experience it.
For a brief moment I almost lost faith in humanity. I went with my friend, didn’t plan on getting a thing, just kinda the driver, plus he offered me pizza.
We get to the mall. A place I do not frequent on normal days let a lone this crazy day. I could not believe how many people they could get in this area. It was PACKED. We got there a little early so nothing was yet open, and almost EVERY big store had security guards standing at the entrance.
WHen the time for the stores to open finally came it was like a bunch of zombies were released and chasing everyone. It was a mad house. I was pushed, shoved, glared at and even chewed out for walking to slow. I spent a summer in Africa. I saw people actually starving, giving us Americans a weeks worth of food for lunch. I stood there and watched people fight over a Elmo that Hugs you. First of all creepy, secondly….ITS FREAKING ELMO. I played with a little boy named Carlos everyday for a summer, we played with sticks and mud. No toys. We had a blast. He ate maybe, MAYBE once a day, and here I was standing in a mall full of people fighting over a damn Elmo. Merry Christmas Jesus….
I learned that I am not a good person to go out on this night. Not because I participated in Black Friday, but because I was judging all the people who were. Again, some people love it, it is a family event. I am glad they enjoy it. It made me realize I judge and throw stones just like everyone else.

Ever sense that night I feel that is how the Holidays have been. Crazy busy. Between work, family, and trying to get ready for Christmas there has been no time to sit down and enjoy it. Throw kids in the mix and it is a mess. I don’t care what anyone says. When you have little kids, Christmas is about gifts. We talk about the meaning over and over. They know the cute songs, we have a Nativity scene in our house. They watch The Nativity and explain that Jesus is the reason we have Christmas, but let’s be real. With kids, gifts trump.

I’m trying to stay focused. I don’t want to be a humbug butt. I want to love Christmas like my kids do. I use to. I think I can. I just need to focus on them, and the meaning and not the craziness I personally surround myself with. I really just need a silent night…