It’s getting close now. Christmas is coming – quickly. Every so often I’ll spot a countdown – “6 shopping days until Christmas!” – and I think I should probably feel rushed by it, but I find myself wondering why I don’t.
Maybe this year it’s the impending arrival of a newborn, but I’m in a savor kind of heart-space lately.
I think ahead to next year and things will be so wonderfully different. We will have a 10 month old baby boy, and an almost F O U R year old daughter. I don’t want to rush any seasons. Ever.
We didn’t even get our Christmas tree until last weekend, simply due to the way our schedules lined up, and letsbehonest…some procrastination, too. We drove out to a local tree farm, and wandered around assessing the trees that were left to choose from. (When December is already 1/3 over, you don’t get much say in how pretty your tree is. You just pick one that’s the right size and doesn’t lean too far to the right or left. Also, when you only bring a small amount of cash with you, you find that your choices are even narrower.)
Just like last year, Aven brought along her beloved Minnie ornament to “try on” the tree. Once Minnie approved, Brandon fired up the chainsaw and down it came. The sweet old man who owned the farm offered up s’mores, and we happily obliged. We sat around his big fire pit, eating s’mores for lunch and chatting.
It was perfect. In a very unperfect, ordinary way.
A couple of nights later, we strung white lights on our little “Charlie Brown” tree, as Brandon calls it. After a friendly debate regarding whether to start from the top versus the bottom of the tree (bottom – duh!), it was shimmering sweetly in the corner of our living room. Then, just before bedtime, my two-year-old asked me to dance with her in the light of the tree. Dressed in our pj’s, we swayed, twirled, and giggled as the Christmas music played. It’s a little early to say for sure, but so far that moment is the front runner in my favorite memories this season.
We bank on the big holiday moments – Santa’s lap, the perfect gift, Christmas morning – that’s what we’re focused on. We chase those moments with anticipation, and we rush around, checking every box on our Tradition To Do List. But the truth is, the spark of the Christmas spirit starts small and is much, much quieter. Just like His birth all those years ago. Simple. Modest. Almost unnoticed. And yet? Special. So immensely special and undeniably significant.
If our hustle and bustle gets too loud, chaotic, or restless, we may just miss the simple sweetness of this season altogether. So pay attention to the small moments. Intentionally look for them. (And when you find them, don’t feel like you have to document them with a photo or an Instagram story — #preachingtomyself — because some of my most unforgettable moments are stored up only in my heart, just like the dance with my little girl that I mentioned earlier.)
I realize there is a certain busy associated with the holidays that we can’t exactly avoid, but we can choose to not let it overtake us and distract us. Always be on the lookout for the pause button and don’t be afraid to press it. I know there’s not much left of December, but there’s always, always room to savor the significant.
*Write this at the top of your to do list today: Savor > Hustle. And if that’s the only box that’s been checked at the end of the day, just consider yourself ahead of the game.