December is always a busy month. And in past years, I've made it even more busy by adding tons of activities - advent calendars with daily doings, our Elf on the Shelf alternative, and plenty of crafts.
But circumstances this year have dictated that we scale back on our holiday activities and focus on our family instead. We were vacationing at Disney the first week of December, and now we've traveled to visit my family. The day after Christmas we're traveling again to visit my husband's family. We just realized that every weekend in December, we have been or will be on the road.
I've set aside the twinges of guilt I've let creep in because we missed our church Christmas cantata. We've also missed two church-related Christmas gatherings. My yearly baking, one of my favorite parts of the holidays, has been virtually non-existent. My "usual" holiday preparations have been put aside.
I've come to the conclusion that none of that matters in the grand scheme of things. Are Christmas parties nice? Sure. Is it fun to countdown to Christmas with an advent calendar? Absolutely. But that's not what Christmas is about. Those are just superfluous events our society has added to this season. To make it more fun? More stressful, trying to do too many things in a short time?
So this year will be our simple Christmas. And while at first I felt guilty and stressed about not participating in all the extras, now I feel liberated. It's okay to focus on family. And most importantly, it's freed me up to spend more time reflecting on the greatest gift of Christmas, God's Son. His birth gives hope to all mankind. That's what I'm celebrating this Christmas, more than I ever have.