I just got back from a WONDERFUL trip to Gatlinburg with some really great girlfriends. We stayed in a cabin in Wears Valley, and on day 2 we got like 3 inches of snow. It was so beautiful up in the mountains! Down in Gatlinburg the snow either melted or got muddy, but where we were staying it was still glistening and white and beautiful 24 hours later. It was snowing when we woke up on Saturday and I got to go outside in it, feeling it crunch under my feet and fall on my face. We saw so many merry sights and lights, we ate fudge, we watched movies. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
As usual, I got to doing some deep thinking about the holidays and how "magical"they are, and how easy it is to be enchanted by the reindeer, the Santas, the music, the lights, the merriment and the season of giving. I am all for enjoying the seasons and finding as many reasons during the year to celebrate as possible. In fact, I really make an effort to celebrate as many big and little things throughout the year as possible. Why not? Being given another day of life, in itself, should be celebrated daily. It's nice to make a big deal out of things. These are the things that make precious memories. I just hate the hustle and bustle and stress that usual accompanies the holidays. I think this time of year can so easily become the most stressful time of year if we let it. It can also become a time when we find ourselves worshipping and rejoicing in everything but the birth of Christ. It's SOO easy to be lured away by the bright and shiny. I know I personally have to guard my heart this time of year, for my sake and the sake of my kids, that I do put the emphasis on Jesus' awesome, powerful, miraculous birth and the reason He came- to save us all from sin. I have to keep myself in check and make sure I don't go overboard with the gifts and the fanfare and the food. I see people spending money they don't have, to give gifts to family and friends they barely know, out of obligation. I see women keeping up with the "trends"in dress and decor and entertainment so they and their home will impress. I see parents working long, hard hours away from their kids so they can give big expensive gifts to their kids because they have taught their kids to expect it. And my heart hurts that this is where our society is right now. I really do wish we could keep it simple and just enjoy being together, appreciating our God and our family and all the gifts God has already lavished upon us. Maybe I'm just not a big gift person. Gifts is my very least love language, and giving is my very least spiritual gift. I just don't think about "things" as being what we give. If we haven't given our time, what do gifts matter? Brian asked me what I wanted for Christmas this year, and I honestly answered, "A date with you."
I hope and pray that the Rodgers family can find that balance this year and every year to follow. Where we anticipate and celebrate and thoroughly enjoy the holidays, without getting greedy and stressed and losing our focus. We have decided not to "do Santa" with the kids, but to give each of them a gift or two from us. NOT saying Santa is a "bad" thing or casting judgement on those parents who choose to do Santa. I'd just rather take the focus off the gifts and on the celebration. Lord help us achieve the balance!