I felt like my spirit and my schedule were truly able to slow down. My soul found pleasure, joy and satisfaction in the advent of Christmas. However, what I didn't see coming, were some of the consequences that come with slowing down. For better and for worse.
Consequence- (noun) a result or effect of an act or condition.
Some of the better consequences of a slow Christmas season were less stress and more enjoyment. I stopped. I played. I had lots of extra sweet moments with my kids and with our family as a whole because I was satisfied with just being. And some of the "just being" was just being at the foot of the manger. Sharing readings and songs and conversations about the newborn King with my children. Love and excitement grew thick in our home.
One of the not-so-hot consequences of this unhurried season: not getting stuff done. It's not like I didn't get anything done. But when it came down to it, there were things I needed to let go of. Letting go is always hard for me. It was the hardest lesson I learned after my first baby and even more so when #2 came along 15 months later. Just let it go. Let the piles pile and the floor be sticky and leave the lists unfinished. So hard. But two words kept popping into my head: Do Without. We will do without. We'll just have to do without. And we did. And Christmas still came. And it was lovely. And I need to do without much more often.
While I learned to let go of some things, I also had lessons in embracing others. Back in November I shared some thoughts about gifts. And while it is still the desire of my heart to keep things minimal, I have learned I cannot and should not control the gift-giving of others. Because of divorce on both sides of the family, we celebrate 4 separate Christmases. And it's great. I love that we actually get to continue celebrating right into January and even February some years. We are blessed with beyond generous families. And for some of us, gift-giving is how we show our love. So I'm thankful for not only the pool pass and the zoo pass and the Imagination Station membership and the day at Memphis Kiddie Park we'll have this summer- those gifts of experience I desire so much for my family. But I'm also thankful for the abundance, maybe even excessive gifts poured out in love to our children. Lavish love that I dare not ask others to refrain from giving.