Last year I wrote a sweet little children’s story about a gingerbread village, and it was my intent to revise and post it here this Christmas season. That dream is looking doubtful.
Ah, the plight of the creative individual who has literally no limit to the ideas of things they want to do, sew, bake, paint, write, see, read, and visit at Christmas time. Oh, yea, and who is chronically ill.
I became exceedingly overwhelmed this week and, as dysautonomia means I have a dysfunctional stress response, my body shut down. Sigh.
But you don’t have to have a malfunctioning mortal coil to experience this flood of Christmas anxiety. So let’s dial back together and gain some perspective.
First off, let’s acknowledge that nothing truly awful will happen if we do not get around to 95% of things on our lists. Not really. No one will die or suffer extreme physical pain
Most of our stress is self-induced. People are surprisingly understanding if we don’t do ‘the thing.’ And those who do act butt-hurt need to find better past times. We can let their poor attitudes glance off us like sleet from Santa’s sleigh. Their inability to understand or stingy selfishness is not our responsibility.
In an effort to get a grip, I have shaved my plans back to a few feasible gold nuggets. I hope you are able to do the same because wouldn’t it be better to take part in a few special things, and truly enjoy them with a spirit of peace and joy, than accomplish a hundred things that twist us into a frazzled ball of nerves?
Christmas is meant to be a time of tranquil celebration, enjoying family, sharing a few fun little activities together, and being grateful for the manger turned cradle. I want to let it be that, remembering that less is more.
I have started reading Calm Christmas and a Happy New Year by Beth Kempton, which explores this idea and how to go about simplifying and making Christmas special. While I haven’t finished the book, my sister, a kick-butt librarian recommended it, so you know it’s good.
Let us take a breath together, recognizing how blessed we are and that most of the Christmas froufrou is merely a distraction.
God, help us take a chill pill.
“Life is full of sweet surprises, every day’s a gift
The sun comes up and I can feel it lift my spirit
Fills me up with laughter, fills me up with song
I look into the eyes of love and know that I belong
Bless us all, who gather here
The loving family I hold dear
No place on earth, compares with home
And every path will bring me back from where I roam
Bless us all, that as we live
We always comfort and forgive
We have so much, that we can share
With those in need we see around us everywhere
Let us always love each other
Lead us to the light
Let us hear the voice of reason, singing in the night
Let us run from anger and catch us when we fall
Teach us in our dreams and please, yes please
Bless us one and all
Bless us all with playful years
With noisy games and joyful tears
We reach for you and we stand tall
And in our prayers and dreams
We ask you, bless us all”
*The Muppet Christmas Carol