Finding Peace at Christmas
It's funny because as I sat down to write this morning, I noticed my last post, from a month and a half ago, was sitting unpublished in "drafts." So much of that post no longer applies, so I almost deleted it, but instead I posted it with its original date and decided to let it illustrate how quickly things can change--still one of the hardest parts of motherhood for me. As soon as you get the hang of something, or in the case of my last post, experience contentment, change!
I have spent the past month or so feeling many things BUT contentment. November is always a hard month for me anyway--the onset of cold weather, cabin fever, and winter illness combined with a holiday season where you're "supposed" to be grateful, peaceful and calm. Too much pressure, and it usually leaves me crabby and anxious.
I've been worn a bit thin lately, for multiple reasons, and have been feeling sorry for myself for all that I have to do and take care of. I've felt a bit lost by the mountain of duties that motherhood brings, and have been lamenting the fact that I can't even go to the bathroom without an interruption. There has been so much noise in my head, and as a result, I've let many things steal my peace and have been looking in many places for comfort and reassurance--except the place that provides it.
The past two mornings I've inadvertently fallen back into my routine of waking before the girls (something that has been far from consistent this pregnancy), tiptoeing downstairs, turning on the Christmas tree lights, and doing my morning devotional with some coffee. And I don't think it's any coincidence that yesterday a truly good day. It wasn't without its lion's share of work--Nick is traveling for work, we had grocery shopping, laundry, and all the normal household duties (and I had both girls with me because like the neurotic person I am, I've developed a practice of keeping them home from school when I hear of a stomach bug circulating). But I felt peace and was able to be a present, calm, kind mother. Not the mother who yells and, like Eloise asked me the other day, "Mommy, why are we always moving so quickly?"
The devotional I'm reading through right now is my church's advent devotional, and the theme is "Don't Be Afraid." I think in our modern times it's easy to think we're not operating out of fear (which is such a primal feeling that surely we're above) and that there are other reasons for doing what we're doing--it's someone else's fault, we're lacking something that can be purchased for a fix, etc. But for me, a lot of times if I'm going through a hard time, it CAN be traced back to fear. It has been so helpful and comforting to be reminded that I'm not alone.
Usually at advent I feel so overwhelmed by the busyness of the season and take a technology hiatus. As an all-or-nothing person, this usually helps me establish boundaries and, as Sarah says so smartly in one of my favorite posts of hers, "guard my heart and mind" at Christmas to focus on what truly matters. I don't feel that sense of overwhelm this year--maybe I'm becoming more able to absorb the busyness of the world and still be that calm container for my kids? But as we approach Christmas, I do keep thinking about a post I saw on social media last week:
“I think it's appropriate this time of year to just think about that baby in the manger. Don't be too overwhelmed or occupied with what is to come; just think about that little baby. Take a quiet, peaceful moment to ponder the beginning of His life--the culmination of heavenly prophecy but the earthly beginning for Him. Take time to relax, to be at peace, and see this child in your mind. Do not be too concerned or overwhelmed with what is coming in His life or in yours. Instead, take a peaceful moment to contemplate perhaps the most serene moment in the history of the world--when all of heaven rejoiced with the message 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men." - D. Todd Christofferson
I hope to continue to be able to focus on the baby, not being too concerned about what's to come in his life or mine, and experience the peace this season can offer, if I let it. I also hope to make it back here more often, but if I don't check in before Christmas, I wish you a peaceful and joyous Christmas season!