As the Christmas season ends and we are finishing our Christmas and Epiphany feasting, I have been looking back on this past Advent and Christmas season.
There are differing views whether Advent is a time of penance; I believe the Catechism says no, several websites say yes (I consider the Catechism the final word). Whether or not there is a penitential component to Advent, it is definitely a time of preparation. I tried to be more intentional this year. I focused more on my prayer life and just being present for my son. One writer has said, “Your kids won’t remember if you had a Pinterest-perfect Christmas but they will remember if you were cranky and full of tears.” I took this to heart.
It helped that the main water line ruptured under our house and my cell phone died. Simultaneously. Yep, there’s nothing like adversity (and I’m talking the first-world kind, not the third-world kind) to put some things in perspective. I had already sat down with my husband and son well before the Christmas season and went through a list of things they wanted to do, things they definitely wanted to do, things/events they could do without, and things they were just “meh” on. I was surprised at some of the answers, but I went with them. I mean, it’s really not necessary to make 10 different kinds of cookies and family traditions evolve. I also was getting exasperated decorating and turned to my husband and said, “You know what, I just don’t feel up to doing wreaths on all the windows; how about just one?” He was fine with that.
I tried to get some things done earlier in the year and even before the Christmas season started. From my mom, I got the habit of buying presents and deals throughout the year (the only problem is that I forget what I bought and where I hid it). I tried to do cinnamon rolls as presents for many people in our lives and I made a batch or two a week and just kind of stretched the Christmas season out. I also have tried to get together with friends during the season of Epiphany, when quite frankly we are all more pleasant and relaxed.
As the seasons of Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany have now closed, I see room for improvement, things I did better, and quite frankly, ways I could improve. I do feel, though, this Christmas season I did grow a little closer to our Lord and I will take solace in that. I also am grateful that though my son has a wide range of behavior and sweetness, multiple times throughout the season he said, “The Spirit of Christmas isn’t about presents, it’s about Baby Jesus’ birthday.” Yep, thank you, my five-year-old, for that reminder — and may I take the intentionality I have practiced this season into the New Year.
What ways have you been intentional this season and what changes are you going to make next year?
Please share your ideas so that we may all focus on growing closer to our Lord.
Copyright 2019 Meg Herriot