My two favorite things from this Christmas season: caroling on Christmas Eve with our church and watching my two boys and their two cousins (along with 8 Zu Zu pets) giggling and crawling around my mom’s kitchen floor. Both these images just fill my heart and make me smile.
And then I think about all the other stuff. Hundreds of dollars, many rolls of wrapping paper, a huge meal, agonizing over “just the right thing to buy” and wondering how to feel better about it all.
Do my kids really need another Lego set? Did I need another sweater and top? The smile on Joshua’s face when he opened up the shark-tooth necklace that his little brother gave him–that’s what I’m after. I just want the joy, not the over-the-top spending, giving, wasting and receiving that only feels polite and appropriate.
I want the stuff to matter less and the feelings to matter more. And we did have that–here and there, glimpses of it. When it was finally Makenzie’s turn to open her next gift (she’s four and we go youngest to oldest), she lit up! Of course she knew she was opening a Zu Zu since her cousins and sister already had, but she LIT UP ANYWAY. That’s the joy. The shark-tooth necklace–that’s it too.
Caroling with my church was a special treat for the boys and I. I asked my husband to make a last minute run to the grocery store for me (he’s not much of a singer anyway), so it was Joshua, Jacob and me in our group of carolers. We had plates of cookies, a miniature gift of the magi with scripture, candles and the words to our chosen carols. Away we went!
It was amazing to see the faces at each door. I was the designated doorbell-ringer, hander-of-the-cookies and Could we sing you a Christmas carol? person for our group. The person who answered the door was already shocked that someone was at the door on Christmas Eve. Then realization at what I was handing them and asking. Remember: Behind me stood 8 people holding candles, ready to sing. We got yes in a variety of ways: excitedly, unsure, smiling ear-to-ear, shrugging (oh well, I guess), and wait, let me get the others! We’d sing, say Merry Christmas and head to the next house. Simple, sweet and a joy.
What a great evening! I can’t think of a better way to spend Christmas Eve for the rest of my life. My boys were awesome–singing when they could, relighting candles, carrying cookies, just plain looking handsome and being adorable. I am very proud.
So to make everything ok as I contemplate Christmas, I need to remember caroling and Zu Zu on the kitchen floor, Makenzie’s patience and the shark-tooth necklace. The moments of joy amidst the indulgence of the season.