I haven’t had much to say over the past week because I’ve been so busy being with people that I’ve hardly had time to think! It’s been very nice seeing so much of my family and my husband’s family, but it has been rather hectic.
After dealing with pretty intense PPD two years ago, and struggling with what was for me a lot of anxiety last year (probably partly because of the new baby!), it was incredibly nice to be mentally and emotionally myself this Advent and Christmas. It was nice to have that upswell of excitement when planning gifts for the people I love, rather than only a flood of discouragement and a sense of being overwhelmed. It was nice, too, that we’ve established more of a routine (as is necessary with two toddlers!), and that I was able to work a meaningful Advent celebration into that routine. Advent is my favorite time of year – something about the melancholy hope, the joyful sorrow, that it carries with it resonates with my heart – and being able to live it, sing it, talk about it, and teach it to my boys gave me so much happiness.
And now Christmas is here, and the first few crazy days of the brief festive season have passed, and the quiet enjoyment of each other is continuing, and a bag of presents for the boys (from neighbors, family, and the local thrift store) is waiting for Epiphany so we can share in their giving of gifts to the Christ child. Christmas is hard to live, because unfettered joy does not come naturally to me; I’m much more of an Advent person, painting even the fiercest of my joys with the shadows of sorrow and the remembrance of brokenness. How am I supposed to fully embrace happiness for the full twelve days of Christmas?
The boys help, of course – I am planning fun and different things for most of the days (small things, so they don’t get burnt out) to help continue the holiday spirit. We’re keeping the decorations up, and reading through the Christmas story each day, gradually moving the Wise Men closer to the Baby Jesus waiting in the stable. If I can maintain an atmosphere of peace and joy in the house, a feeling of delight at the birth of the Baby Jesus, I think that will help, even if the festivities themselves are smaller. It is like the birth of any new baby, I suppose – the feelings of happiness and wonder and joy persist even though the reality of sleepless nights and dirty diapers quickly manifests itself.
So Merry Christmas to all! May your Christmas season be filled with wonder at His coming, joy at His presence, and peace in His love, through all the difficulties and pressure the holidays seem to bring.