Monday, November 23, 2009

Sitting Still

Charlie, Christmas 2008

If you know me well, or even somewhat well, you know that this is by far my favorite time of year.

I love everything about the Christmas season. The music... the lights... decorations... and random santa sightings. I love shopping for gifts for people & watching their face as they open them. I love the touching stories you hear about generosity or that rare holiday miracle. I love the smell of holiday candles & a freshly cut fir tree.

In all of this excitement, it's easy for me to set my expectations too high. Aspiring for the "perfect holiday" makes it hard to process everyday issues that may arise. Like last year when a myriad of small disasters had me in tears 3 days before Christmas. It started with our cat peeing on my favorite boots & Jackson's comforter in some sort of feline protest. Stuffing the urine sprayed comforter in our old washing machine led to it's explosion of soap & water all over our laundry room. This was topped off with us doing laundry at various homes of friends & family on the 23rd & 24th. Looking back, it makes for a good story... but at the time, washing my underwear at my brother-in-law's house on Christmas Eve was far from what I had envisioned.

This year, I feel more centered. For the first time, I actually set money aside to ease the impact of the holiday on our budget. I also started planning way ahead, building in time for us to simply spend together, as a family. (this is huge due to how much Andy travels lately)

Thanks to this planning, something I seem to thrive on, I've noticed my excitement about Christmas has changed. Instead of building it all up to a "perfect" day on the 25th of December, I'm truly looking forward to the season as a whole. And while I can't wait until Andy gives us the go ahead to put up our tree... the music & the candles are nurturing my child-like excitement.

I heard my favorite Christmas song a few days ago & it has become my new mantra for the season. While it's not one widely played on the 24 hour holiday music channels, it's one I remember & cherish from decades of Christmas memories. It's title is Still, Still, Still and currently my favorite version is performed by the Mannheim Steamroller chorus. It's message is simple, if you sit still enough, you can hear the wonder of the season. That the magic happens not in the tearing open of packages, but in the quiet moments.

Sometimes, if you slow down and listen, you can hear life moving around you. You might even get a chance to appreciate things you may have otherwise sped past.

Still... still... still... one can hear the falling snow.
For all is hushed, the world is sleeping. Holy Star its vigil keeping. Still.. still... still... one can hear the falling snow.