Can I make a confession?
I hate Christmas! Or perhaps more explicitly, I hate all the extra work Christmas entails. I enjoy the lights, the decorations, the focus on the Reason for the Season, the traditional meals, and especially the extra time with the family. But I struggle to enjoy any it because it’s all added on to my already-too-full responsibilities. It’s not like everything else stops in December so I can “Christmas.” It all continues while I try to squeeze in ordering and wrapping gifts, decorating the house, attending special performances, and hosting many extra family dinners.
For the past two years, several in our family (including me) had Covid over Christmas. That just stretched out the celebrations to mid-January. This year I was sick the two middle weeks in December, which meant I missed all the events I usually use to get me in the mood for the season. I barely got our tree up and put a few decorations on it. All the boxes of Christmas décor are still sitting unopened in my living room. I didn’t even take them back to the garage! I’ve spent the past two weeks juggling “real life” and Christmas. And now it’s over (except for the taking down and putting away).
And then we hit the week after Christmas. While our family has several not-to-miss traditions that all happen at my house because of my husband’s Parkinson’s, even I let most of my professional responsibilities slide this week. I feel like I can breathe again. I do crafts with the grandkids. I take naps. We finally get out to look at the lights.
And then comes the New Year
The first week in January.
That is my special time. When we lived in CA, the trees began to bud in early January. (Here they are more evergreen). I saw a new beginning. A clean slate. A fresh calendar and planner. The promise of spring.
Early January speaks my heart language.
I always try to take a personal planning retreat January 2-4. I get away alone with God, my journal, a few good books, and my paints. I assess the previous year. I paint. I seek the Lord for direction for my personal and professional goals. I paint. I sleep. I read. I breathe.
Early January whispers of new beginnings. A fresh start. What didn’t work in the previous year gets re-evaluated and either dropped or modified. New projects the Lord has been whispering about get calendared.
And I begin again. A bud, promising to explode in life.
I wish you all the best in this bright, shiny new year.