I find myself standing somewhat aloof from Christmas festivities this year.
Wait, no. Not festivities. Just effort. For instance:
We generally do an advent calendar full of activities: Crafts! Lights! Songs! Every year, I make a concerted effort to involve the kids, start an activity each day, light a candle, say a prayer.
This year, the kids aren’t asking for it, and I decided, meh.
There was a service opportunity today: lots of people, a great cause, a whole-family opportunity to serve. Come this morning, I didn’t have the emotional energy for it.
I planned on taking the kids to a Christmas performance of some kind. This week, I decided I wouldn’t bother finding tickets.
It’s not like I usually run myself ragged at Christmas and this year I’m taking a pass. In years past, with small kids, I’ve decided to let go of many traditions until I had the time or energy or help to do them. But this year, I can’t even muster the interest for stuff I would usually jump at. It’s not like we’re busy or even particularly harried from preparations.
Though now it seems glaringly obvious, I couldn’t figure out why I kept opting out until this morning.
I’m opting out because I’m gathering all my energy for a gnarly voyage. I don’t have leftovers for anything else.
Even before we leave, I feel like the decision to go has radically transformed me and my family. It’s made me more open to change. It has challenged to dust off my language skills and start making friends cross-culturally at home (thank you, Jesus, for those friends). It has challenged our family to simplify and look hard at our values.
That is the gift I’m opening this Christmas: a changed life. That’s enough.
We board a plane January 8th. Pray for us, won’t you?
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