“Are you ready for Christmas?”
NO!!!!! I am NOT!
Someone said to me the other day: “I haven’t got time to be ill now, just 2 weeks before the day; I have too much to do”. None of us “have time” to be ill, do we?! Particularly at this time of year. And yet, when illness hits us, we are forced to re-evaluate the things we thought were priorities. You didn’t hear from me last week for this reason – I came down with a nasty December cold, which is taking it’s time to disappear. I was forced to re-evaluate my priorities and it got me thinking about the pressure we put ourselves under with the false concept of “getting everything done” at this time of year.
You know what time of year it is when the usual “How are you?” question in polite society is replaced with “Are you ready for Christmas?”
Yesterday, Peter “the shed man” came to measure up for a wood store/shed. When he was about to leave, he asked, with a look of panic on his face, “You don’t want it before Christmas, do you?” He was so relieved when I replied “Erm, no, Christmas is not dependent on the shed!” We had a brief discussion about the pressure to “have it all” and “get it all done” before the day.
Peter told me his wife was insisting that she needed to clean their windows. And that most of his customers were pleading for their sheds in time for Christmas day.
Do we really need to have it all and get it all done?
But despite not insisting on having my shed built within the next week, I’m just as guilty of this kind of thinking as the next woman. I have my fantasy “things I want to get done by Christmas” list… I wanted to finish off several work projects (yeah right!) clean the oven (this has been on my list ALL YEAR) and clear out the boys’ wardrobes and the under-stairs cupboard (the expression “I’d rather have root canal surgery” comes to mind).
What’s this all about?! Why make a list of additional things when there is plenty to do at this time of year anyway? Why add this pressure? It’s crazy, isn’t it? None of this is actually important. So what if you miss the last post and your Christmas cards arrive AFTER Christmas? Is it really going to mean the end of the World? So what if you haven’t ordered your turkey/beef/goose/nut roast and you have to make do with what’s left on the the shelves on Christmas Eve? In my experience, there’s never been a shortage of turkeys! What if, (like me) you are not 100% organised and not only have you not yet WRAPPED your presents, you’re also not entirely sure where you’ve hidden them all! The fact is, the presents will get wrapped!
So my message to you – and reminder to myself – in today’s post is that we don’t have to have it all or do it all before Christmas Day.
Perhaps we should look to the true meaning of Christmas for reassurance and to give us permission not to be “quite ready” or “done”:
Mary did not have a private maternity suite booked. She had to make do with a stable.
Jesus had “no crib for a bed”. He made do with a manger full of hay (so you’ll be fine if that new sofa doesn’t arrive in time)
Despite the many things that weren’t in place for Jesus’s birth, it all worked out. The shepherds managed to find him, the three Wise Men managed to cobble together 3 gifts – and I bet they didn’t go shopping for them weeks earlier. 🙂
So whatever your faith or your beliefs, please take comfort from knowing that the origins of Christmas were humble. The messages of simplicity, kindness, trust, hope and love can still be at the heart of our own Christmas time, even though our own lives may be very different.
Remember to enjoy this run up to Christmas as well as the day itself – of course there are things to do, but do them with lightness and let go of the need for perfection. What doesn’t get done, doesn’t get done!