Internet, can we talk for a moment?
I've got so much rumbling around my brain that I'm not even sure where to start.
Things like how our Christmas rocked, as it tends to do, but how it also dripped with the stuff of real life. Stuff like figuring out blended families and strep throat and she-won't-help-me! and did that kid get short-changed in the gift department? Stuff that reminds me that my life is not full of the shiny images I see on the internet of what I perceive as the "perfect" this or that.
That table setting is perfect!
That's a brilliant idea for our families Elf!
I wish I had chosen their color scheme for our Christmas cards!
Stuff that doesn't matter and yet sometimes feels like it really does.
My life is full of images, some shiny, some dark, some blurred with exhaustion or fighting kids or most frequently, my feelings of the day, allowing the good or bad to sink into the picture. Because when I look around, I can see the beauty or I can see the ugly. And more than ever, I'm trying to see the beauty. The beauty in the mess of my kitchen because it means my kids were learning to bake. Or the beauty in the mess of the toy room because it means imagination were at work. It's working, I think, but I've got a ways to go.
Christmas makes it easier. At Christmastime, I think everyone works a little harder to be their best and see the beauty. To put on their shiny in the morning and step out into the world, spreading their shine to those who need it.
We say more hellos and thank yous.
We open doors. Pay for the hot chocolate in the car behind us. Leave notes for mailman. We make more of an effort in just about every possible way.
And I love it.
Why does it take Christmas to make us into the people we're supposed to be?
I asked Hannah what her favorite part of Christmas was and her reply? "I love how everyone is nicer to each other and takes care of each other."
My 11-year old gets it!
But do I?
She reminded me of how there is a noticeable change in the way we treat each other from November to December. And she's 100% spot on. It feels like there are more opportunities to serve in those four weeks than in the rest of the year. More people in need. More charities to support. My love to share with our neighbors. But those people and charities and neighbors are still there, all year long, just waiting for the rest of us to wake up and get back to the business of looking outside ourselves and finding news ways to shine. Ways to share ourselves and help make each other better. Ways to carry Christmas all year long and feel of that feeling that so far, only comes once a year.
This is the stuff that keeps me up at night.
I don't have the answer. I don't even know where to find the answer. But I know that it can somehow start with me and my people. I know that we can start making changes in our home that will begin to trickle out into our neighborhood. And then maybe our community. I know that big change happens when we start small and I feel committed to going to battle and getting to work. Because the love we feel during the Christmas season is ours for the taking if we remember why we're here and start taking care of one another.
I love it when my kids teach me stuff. It happens a million times a day in a million different ways. I'm so lucky to have four master teachers under my feet. I'm hoping this year will be about us serving one another and loving one another and finding in every image we see, a new way to shine.
(Our shiniest image from last year)