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So This Is The New Year


So This Is The New Year

Permalink 03:42:00 pm by cassie, Categories: Announcements [A]

This Christmas has not felt very seasonal this year. Perhaps it's the newborn exhaustion stage, the toddler exerting her independence about everything, the lack of sleep, or the lack of snow or true cold winter weather so typical of our usual experience. Whatever the case, as I have never considered Christmas one of my favorite holidays anyways, my Christmas Spirit (whatever THAT is) was on the low side of zero this year. The day came without notice, it seems, sandwiched between being huge and pregnant and depressed and the promise of a new and fresh year to come and put behind our family this rather dreadful 2011. I had clinically prepared my list of people I needed to send gifts to and struggled, as I always do every occasion requiring a gift, to come up with something that would represent the love we had for each individual. The fact that I have no talent to craft and no creativity to buy something that does represent that love makes it so difficult for me that I often resent the whole experience. There is no gift I have ever given materially that has given me a true satisfaction that the receiver felt the love and appreciation I have of them through it. I make up for this deficit in the loving wrapping of the items and cards filled with words of warmth and friendship, hoping this makes up for the disappointment of opening up another dud of a present.  

   Perhaps it's only my guilt about my poor skills of gifting on command, but I have never loved Christmas. Besides having pagan origins and people having a fit on either side about whether we should or shouldn't call it a "Christmas" or a "holiday" tree, I would rather we just separate from things altogether. I love celebrating the birth of Christ, my Messiah, the excitement of reimagining Mary's anticipation of her child, not fully understanding the miracle that it was. I just wish all that wasn't stuck with all the other dumb things like Black Friday, Santa, and the stress of making everything perfect for one day. I even like Santa, and Rudolph, and Burl Ives. I just sorta wish we could do Christmas and the celebration of Jesus' birth separately. One, a secular but happy family holiday to eat good food and give thanks, the other, a sacred one with singing and happy reflection on a very solemn but joyful occasion such as the coming of the God-man. 

    I stifle my cynicism now with beautiful songs about His birth, enjoying the thoughts of the angels saying "Glory to God in the highest!!" The weight of those words pulls my heart heavy to my feet, then lifts it back up as I remember that Jesus lives and is coming again. I redeem the ugliness of the holiday for my own purpose - to have a Season to remind me to think on that amazing moment where our own Redemption came to live on the same Earth I occupy now. That's worth celebrating to me. 

     As I sit now enjoying the gifts I was given this season - a warm candle to freshen my house with the smell of pine, lotion to soften my cracked and sore hands,  coffee beans to wake me up - I can be thankful for even this hard year of our lives. We are nearly at the end of it and I have my marriage, my eternally patient and giving husband, the calm and steady to the storm of emotion and feeling that's inside my head. I have my daughter, already a person of her own, full of personality and silliness but so much like me that I worry for her. I have my son, healthy and giant and happy despite the terrifying minutes of his birth when I thought maybe none of those things would be true for him. I have these things and more - warm house, health, clothing, food - than I could ever use or need at times. I can't say this year has been perfect. I spent many days of it in tears, frustrated and depressed, but it has been perfectly orchestrated by God in ways that are only visible to us in our own little home. This year has been the epitomization of Life with a capital L, that state of being that describes all the sorts of things that happen to frustrate our plans in a way that's perfectly personal, but not unique to the human condition at large. I guess what I'm trying to articulate is that the happenings of Life are not what make it bad or good (as I've experienced that life often has more sadness than anything else), but the resources to cope and move within those situations are what I can be thankful for. A moment when I'm in despair and my kid asks me to make them something to eat, taking me out of my private sadnesses and into the present where life doesn't revolve around only me. When Mark and I get an extra unexpected moment to be together and talk. A day of warmish fresh air to open the windows and clear the stale air of indoors. These are my precious blessings. 

   I have no illusions of deserving any of this. I have none that these things will last forever. I can't think about that too much. But I can be thankful for them right now, and I surely am. Welcome, New Year. 

1 comment

Comment from: Wendy [Visitor] Email
WendyWow Cassie! Wonderful writing! I think that you encapsulated many people's feelings in so much of what you wrote.

12/29/11 @ 17:04
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I like to multi-task: wife, writer, nurse, Christian, ne'er do well. I do all with equal gusto.


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