Letting Go of Expectations
This is our Christmas tree. It does not look like the visions I have in my head when I dream of decorating my home for Christmas. This tree was decorated by my children while we listened to way too loud Christmas music, and the littlest one was busy taking off her favorites and putting them in her mouth.
Our home is crazy, especially when we are trying to do activities together as a family. I want to build memories with my children, and I consider that to be more important than having a house that looks like the cover of a magazine. Yet, I still struggle with my expectations for what I want Christmas to be in our home.
- I want the cozy times of cuddling in a quiet room watching the Christmas tree lights tinkle.
- I want to have times over a puzzle as we sip hot cocoa and enjoy the left over goodies from the holiday baking.
- I want my home to look exactly like the vision in my head that I believe will make a perfect Christmas.
When I have tried to live out those expectations it causes me a great deal of stress and frustration. For example, I want to have lots of baked goods around for us to snack on while we watch Christmas movies or work on puzzles. The difficulty is we are a family of 7. I can bake three batches of something and it goes pretty quickly. So if I want to have the abundance of goodies around the house I will be spending most of my days before Christmas baking and cooking. I don’t have the energy, endurance, time or desire to spend all my time baking when I have school time, house cleaning, church activities, and of course laundry that all need to be done. When I have tried to sit in a room quietly while cuddling with my kids looking at the twinkling Christmas tree, I find that my 5 children really aren’t interested in sitting quietly and just gazing at the Christmas tree unless it is 3am and that particular child is unable to sleep for some reason or another. Kids want to play and enjoy themselves. This usually includes loud music and dancing or other games that are really loud and busy. And finally when I have tried to decorate my house the way I envision a beautiful Christmas should look like, it isn’t very kid friendly. And I don’t know about you but I really don’t like worrying about when a favorite item is going to be broken by little hands that just want to look and see it. Being a mommy has changed so much about my life, and at times I do struggle with how much I feel I have had to give up. I once decorated my home exactly the way I liked it and was able to sit late into the evening enjoying a cup of hot cocoa while gazing at the twinkling lights. That image sounds nice until you dig a little deeper. I was alone. And I was lonely. I often was sitting there in the dark feeling sorry for myself because I was sitting there ALONE in the dark. I now have a house full of children, which means my house is often messy. I have a husband who doesn’t want the magazine cover appearance to his home. Our Christmas does not look anything like I imagined it would for many different reasons, but I am thankful. I am thankful for:
- The craziness that happens as we try and bake together as a family. Messy faces, messy floors, and happy children.
- The loud singing that my children do when they are filled with excitement and joy.
- The lopsided Christmas tree that carries broken ornaments, and sometimes a cat.
- The cuddles that happen whether quiet or not throughout the day.
- The amazement in my Children’s eyes as they consider Christmas and what it means.
- For the mess, and noise because it represents and answer to a prayer whispered long ago alone in the quiet.
As we prepare for Christmas, please stop and consider what we are celebrating. I am guilty of getting caught up in what I think Christmas should be and not considering who Christmas is actually about. I am so often guilty of wanting my life to look like a magazine cover, and becoming discontented when it is the messy life that God has blessed me with. I pray that God will grow contentment in my heart, as well as thankfulness as we look forward to celebrating the birth of our Savior.