Finding the Spirit of Christmas

Years ago I read that if we take care of our outward appearance, we will start to feel better inwardly as well.  I think there is some truth to that. This morning I threw my hair into a pony tail holder, exchanged my pj bottoms for yoga pants, threw a jacket over my night shirt and brought Olivia to the bus. On days where I get up 30 minutes earlier and take the time to shower and comb my hair and put on a little bit of make-up, I feel so much more ready for the day.

I’ve been applying this to the Christmas season this year as well. You see, last year we did what we thought the world expected of us at Christmas. It was almost like we were trying to prove to the world that even in the throngs of raw grief, we could do it all. It was a hard Christmas.

J and I recently watched a made for TV Christmas movie. I can’t remember the name of it. In the story, the main character lost her Dad that past year and he was the one who always lit the Christmas tree in the town’s square each year. This year she was not interested in continuing the tradition, but her Mom insists. As everyone is counting down to the moment the tree gets lit, her mouth is moving without a sound coming out, she is going through the motions, but the sound of everyone around her is muffled and they are all moving in slow motion. Jason and I looked at each other and both said ‘That was us last year.’ We went through the motions, but inside we were completely broken and all that happened around us was in slow motion and we were going through the motions too, but now sound was coming from our mouths. That was grief for us during the holidays.

This year we are being mindful to do only that which we can handle and at times things we think we can handle one day, land up not being attainable the day of the activity or celebration and we are choosing to listen to our hearts this year.

Sunday was our tree decorating day. I automatically got out the red and gold decorations and then J reminded me that we also have blue and silver. Was it because Mikail’s favourite colour was red, that I was drawn to the red ones? I don’t know, but it felt good to put up the blue and silver this year. He would have loved those too. We don’t have to put up his favourite things all the time. We decorated two minature trees with the kid’s decorations. To hear Olivia  gleefully shout out ‘This one’s Mikail’s!! It goes on this pile”, as she sorted through them, deciding which ornament would go where, was healing. She was so excited to put his ornaments up for him and so were we. This year the tears were different. They were brief and filled with longing and joy. Our grief is changing. It will never go away, but it will continue to change as time goes on.

As I think about taking the time to take care of my outward appearance, in order to help my inward spirit to be brightened, I am applying that same thought to Christmas this year. If we take the time to decorate our home in such a way that will point us to Christ, perhaps that same spirit will start to fill our hearts and our minds as well. It’s working
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