When I was a child I was obsessed with the whole idea of Christmas. One of my earliest memories was of Mum taking me to the linen cupboard and pulling out a very special pillowslip, one with Santa on his sleigh printed on the front. The pillowslip was placed ever so carefully on the end of my bed that night, and in the morning, it bulged with presents!
Each year after that I got more and more excited, barely sleeping from the time the tree went up in the loungeroom to the big day itself. The rustle of paper, the glitter of tinsel, the twinkle of lights, and the smell of pine (we had a real tree in a pot Dad used to bring inside each year – all red of face and puffing with the weight of it). The surprises, the family gatherings, the food! Oh, and the heat! It was always hot at Christmas.
When my mother took me aside one December and told me that it wasn’t actually Santa who’d filled that pillowslip year after year, nor left the trampoline outside in the courtyard last year, I didn’t believe her. I went back to her a day later and said that Santa must be real because she and Dad got presents too!
Ever since then, I’ve been striving in my own way to recreate the magic of those early Christmases.
(Some years I almost killed myself doing it.)
Now I know the spirit of Christmas is with me, always.
It’s not in the gifts all colour co-ordinated and wrapped perfectly. It’s not in the traditional hot spread that leaves those in the kitchen in a sweaty exhausted mess. It’s not in the perfectly decorated tree. It’s not in the baking frenzy, nor in organising everything and everybody within an inch of their lives. It’s not the cleaning banshee, nor is it spending hour upon weary hour trudging the shopping malls looking for the ‘perfect’ gift. And it’s definitely not in the January credit card bill!
More than anything, it’s not in martyring myself for a vision that no-one else shares.
My Santa pillowslip is very thin these days, and yet I still lay it across the end of my bed with care every December 24.
Everything else about the season is different. I work better this way.
I open, I let go, I relax my grip…
and grace seeps in the cracks.
I allow, I listen…
and ease drifts in on the breeze.
I permit, I encourage, I sit back and breathe…
and the miracle of the season fills my heart to overflowing.
Can you feel the magic in the air?
This post was first published on 2 December 2013 at The Calm Space. Each year I try and remember these lessons. Each year I learn all over again how to let go my grip on expectation. Each year I have to remind myself of the true spirit in this time of year.
Each year, I try to remind myself of the Power of Grace.
Is there something you need to remind yourself at this time of year?