Anticipation of Christmas
I hope your Christmas season is going well and you are nearing the finish line of your “to-do’s”. I just had to write a little something that has been on my mind as of late.
The holidays are full of energy and also a time full of anticipation. There is much to do, much to enjoy, and much to be thankful for. It is easy to find ourselves rushed in the pace of all of it. I know personally there are a lot of things I want to do, but don’t always prioritize what is likely most important.
My youngest son, Oliver, is a quiet force in my world. Even though he was born into a midst of chaos (think moving across country 9 months pregnant), he brought a sense of balance and peace to our lives. Oddly enough, we always knew that there was a fourth child that was belonged in our family. We joke and say he “brought balance to the force” (thank you Star Wars).
Oliver reminds me to look at what I would otherwise miss. As the fourth child, he has learned to go with the flow. He has adapted to schedules, games, home renovations, and deadlines. He has been tossed in the car, scooped up from naps, and has played quietly at the sidelines of his siblings’ activities. I will admit to some lazy parenting at this point. Things that were once the staples of holiday traditions, such as trips to the pumpkin patch, gathering fall leaves, or meeting Santa, have somewhat fallen to the wayside. It’s easy to disregard these activities when you have games to get to, homes to fix, and work deadlines to meet. We can start to view them as “not that important.”
So when Oliver quietly approached me last week and asked when he could meet Santa, I had to take pause. I realized that he had never had the chance to visit Santa. That made me sad. His eyes were anxious with anticipation and that made me think; the holidays are so full of anticipation of what’s to come, that sometimes we miss what is actually already present. Here was Oliver ready to embrace a simple holiday tradition that I had overlooked.
I think my excitement often gets channeled into just being efficient. There seems to be “so much to do”, that the energy of anticipation gets transferred into energy of action. There is great discipline in taking that same anxious anticipation and slowing down to truly appreciate what already is. I know it is a bit cliche, but it was important to me to make that known, even if it was just for myself.
We did go see Santa, and it was amazing. We were treated to a night at the Cape Fear Botanical Gardens Holiday Lights (if you have not been, you still have time to go - it’s pretty incredible). Oliver was nervous, but excited, and he calmly told Santa that he most wished for a pirate ship. He also asked for confirmation that he had been a good boy. That was it. Simple and sweet, but totally perfect. Following Santa, we were able to visit Santa’s treat shop, take a caroling hayride and toast s’mores by the fire. It was fun to be together and just enjoy the holidays.
I hope you find yourselves in great anticipation of Christmas this year. The birth of Christ is a time to look forward to and celebrate without a doubt. In that anticipation, I hope you also find new things in your daily life that pop up as things greater than what you anticipated. Whether it be a silly quote from your child, a gesture from a stranger, or a kind word from a friend, I hope you are able to take pause and be in the moment. It is a struggle for me, but I know it is probably more important than anything else I am planning to do. Life happens in those moments; what we plan to do, doesn’t always pan out.
Merry Christmas to your family. May the wonder of it all surround you and may you anticipate what is to come and cherish what you already have.