Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Reflecting On Christmas Past...

Another Christmas has come and gone, and with it, expectations and realities as well as joys and sorrows. As much as we'd like to create the perfect celebration, it just isn't going to happen this side of heaven. Life happens and it doesn't take a holiday even though we'd like it to. There are just things that can not be controlled or manipulated to meet all our expectations. For example, one blogger lost her home this season to a fire. Completely burned to the ground. A friend here on the mountain, lost her husband Christmas day due to health complications. He passed on quietly in his sleep, but left his family behind, including two school-aged children.

I'm not writing this to be gloomy or to complain, but some of us did not have the Christmas celebration we had expected and hoped for. We read about ideas and see images on the internet (like blogs!) and TV or store catalogs, then we imagine our own family sitting around picture perfect trees and stunningly decorated rooms. Everyone is getting along splendidly and nothing goes awry. Oh, and add in a beautiful snowfall and fire in the hearth and you just about have it all, right? 

Reality check.

Did anyone have ALL these things this year? Not me. And if you did, how many years in a row has all this fallen perfectly into place? Zero over here at my homestead.

Because of our expectations verses reality, many will find that disappointment, bitterness, or even depression can take root in the days following Christmas. I sometimes wonder if that's part of the motivation behind so many New Year's resolutions; people deciding to "correct" what went wrong. And while it's not a bad idea altogether to work to make some things better, if your goal is to make next year perfect, it ain't going to happen! 

The real secret to a successful Christmas is...

• learning how to roll gracefully with the unexpected 

• making memories of the mishaps and laughing at them (and when you can, capture it on the camera!)

• putting others and their needs and dreams before your own

• spending glorious time worshiping the Savior and His birth

• remembering that there is always next year to celebrate, either here or in heaven!

Certainly there is a more to Christmas, but having these attitudes means you won't be nearly as disappointed when the holiday is over.

Sometimes you really do need to make a calculated change in your celebrating. For example, if you waited until Dec. 22nd to shop and mail a package going across the United States and found yourself totally stressed and grumpy with the family as a result of poor planning, that usually can and should be changed.

Now is the best time to reflect on Christmas 2010 and make a few notes so that Christmas 2011 will be different in as much as you can control. Trust me, if you don't do it now, come February, you'll have a hard time remembering exactly what you want to do differently.

Take a few minutes today to write out a list of things that went well and things that didn't; some notes about what you want to do differently next year; journal some goals for 2011. Be specific where you can, because now is when the details will be fresh in your mind. If you're having trouble getting started, try using Organized Christmas's Holiday Values Worksheet. Then when you're all done, stick these notes in the front of your Christmas Planner so you'll see them first when you open it up later in 2011. You'll really be glad you did! It's helped me a lot over the years and I'll be making my own list today as well.


Related Posts with Thumbnails