This season can be a hard one for me. If I stop for a moment, I can become overwhelmed by emotion as I remember Christmas’ in the past. It seems when there is a big yearly-type milestone, my life breaks into “mini lives”. Seasons of my life where I can almost say I was a different person.
I remember Christmas as a child. Watching my parents scrimp and save to make a magical Christmas for us. Secret gifts left for our family from friends and neighbors. Singing carols as a youth. Making candy wreaths to hang on the door. Visiting both sets of grandparents. Homemade pajamas from my grandma every year. I remember that awkward, shy, somewhat dorky child from my youth.
Christmas was something very different when I become a wife and mother. Now I was the one scrimping and saving and shooting for magical. I was the one buying gifts all year to hide in the closet, staying up all night stuffing stockings or to build train tables. Hand making 100s of Christmas cards to send to friends and family. Decorating the entire house with the symbols of Christmas. Longing to live near my family for many years.
Christmas as a single mom has been the hardest adjustment I think. That pressure to make it magical and meaningful always fell on my shoulders as the mom, but now it was all me. Many times, I just didn’t want to. Was I doing it for the kids or for me? Was I trying to keep up appearances to people who didn’t even know me? When I asked my kids to help decorate, they didn’t seem to care either. It was sometimes forced.
What makes Christmas time different from the rest of the year? Expectations I put on myself, my kids put on me, the world in general puts on all of us. The feeling of being alone, even when surrounded by family are not felt only by me. I think we all long for something more at this time of year.
I went to our stake Christmas concert tonight. I have been trying to get back into choir lately. I have issues. Christmas music makes me move past the issues. I love singing Christmas music. In spite of that, I almost didn’t go to the concert tonight. My daughter was home, Baby G would be up too late, no one wanted to go with me….but I had made a commitment so I went. Each ward sang a song or two as we worked through a simple program. Our ward was first. We did okay.
As I sat and listened to the various groups sing their chosen Christmas songs, I kept thinking I would go home after the next one. I needed to get G to bed. But, I stayed. Three wonderful things happened. One; a choir sang Star of Bethlehem. This song always makes me cry. For some reason, I remember being in choir with Brad, many years ago, and working on that song for months. The tenor part was tough. The song has deep meaning for me that gets even deeper each time I listen to the words. It touched me.
Second; we sang the Hallelujah chorus. I know this is meant as a song of praise, but I am filled with such joy when I sing it. My heart literally felt full. I savored the feeling as we sang and as I drove home. How blessed we are to have such heavenly music on earth.
Third; I sat by people I didn’t know. I didn’t get there in time to reserve my single seat so I just grabbed a seat as I left the stand. When we were done singing, I turned to thank the lady next to me for sharing her bench and she thanked me instead. She thanked me for sitting there and letting her hear my beautiful voice.
It’s the little things. Kindness, acceptance, music, listening for the voice of Heaven. The holiday may be tough because I would really like to be sharing it with someone just for me, but I have my children and family nearby. I have the gospel. I have a pretty wonderful life. I can feel the ‘light’ of this season if I put my little pity party in a box and store it til spring. Maybe, I’ll even forget it is there and accidentally throw it out with the Goodwill stuff when I spring clean. It really isn’t doing me any good; just cluttering up my life.
I am truly blessed, and so are you.
Cause I said so.
Photo credit: crosswalk.com