Friday, December 20, 2013

Nesting on Steroids and Christmas Priorities

Day 20

I have a permanent nesting tendency in my psyche.  When I'm actually pregnant the nesting drive is kicked into super hyper steroid overdrive.  And with each baby the neurosis has increased.  Last time when I only suspected I was pregnant and hadn't even taken the test yet, I decided that afternoon that the playroom absolutely had to be painted.  Right then.  Because ohmygoodness I might be pregnant.  And I did it that afternoon.  Alone.  My list as we prepared for Luke was three pages long of things that just had to get done before the birth.  And this wasn't "wash the diapers" type of stuff.  This was "gut and remodel the upstairs bathroom" and "paint all the downstairs walls" type of stuff.  

I have friends who have zero lists before the baby is born.  A few days before their due date they remember that they should probably pick up a pack of diapers.  Then they're done.  

I actually think both ways are beautiful in their own way.  One recognizes the tremendous event of a new baby and one recognizes the sweet simplicity of a new baby.  Both true.  Both good.

And so it is with Christmas.  When we prepare for our Lord's coming we can take a lesson from each.  We are celebrating the reaching down from heaven to earth of the Holy Trinity, the most important birth in all of history.  The one that ushered in our salvation and the one the world had been longing for since that fateful day in Eden.  We can and should go to great lengths to celebrate.  We prepare and make lists.  We race around to get ready.  We drag trees into our homes, scrub the baseboards, and make sure all the little fingernails are clipped.  It can all be an act of love and devotion.  At the very same time we remember the simplicity of the babe.  We remember that what He wants more than anything are prepared, loving, and open hearts.  Arms and hearts ready to hold him.  That the newborn babe will not be inspecting our baseboards or commenting on the lameness of the gifts we tried desperately to have our children prepare for the grandparents.  He won't be offended if we didn't get the lights up this year or if we didn't get every single Advent and Christmas craft done that we were hoping especially if we rather spent that time better preparing our hearts for His coming.  We can sometimes lose the forest for the Christmas trees.  Our hearts are what matter most, not how many homemade gifts we accomplished or the amount of parties we perfectly planned or attended.    

We can only do so much.  He knows that.  If our hearts are sincere and we are doing our very best to live Advent and Christmas well, He knows.  

I felt good when that list for Luke was done.  I felt ready and prepared to welcome the enormity of a new person.  At the same time looking back, there probably could've been a few less rooms to be painted on that baby list of mine and a few more dates with my husband or hours in Adoration.  I probably could've spent a lot more energy preparing my heart for another person arriving more than I prepared my house because, believe it or not, the baby didn't even notice that the porch had been repainted.

When it comes to Christmas preparations there's a whole lot of lovely things that I could be doing.  But there is only so much time and energy to go around.  And so there has to be less somewhere along the line.  This year it's less decorations, less shopping in stores, less cleaning of the house so that there can be more prayer, more reading, more energy spent preparing my heart for Him.  That is a better gift than anything else I could muster up for Him.  If my heart is a beautiful enough place for Him to dwell then it'll distract Him from those dusty baseboards, I think.  

Today, I'm going to make the list of the cleaning and cooking that can reasonably be done in the next few days with an eye toward keeping my prayers and spiritual preparations the priority.  Letting go of some of the good to make room for the better.   





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5 comments:

  1. I loved this one, Mary, as it's the "thing" that's been on my heart also this Advent. Thanks so much for posting these reflections, I've really appreciated them.

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  2. We've done very little this Advent - after the miscarriage I don't feel like doing much and we'll be leaving out of state on Sunday anyway. No tree, no decorations save an Advent countdown paper chain, a child's nativity set, and Advent wreath. We've been listening to Advent music and lighting fir tree and spiced apple scented candles and...it's been perfect. I haven't stressed myself out at all. It's been so peaceful and I feel like I have really been able to focus on the spiritual preparation. I really wish now that we hadn't decided to "go home" for Christmas and decided to stay home instead, because I know my family is going to want to go over the top and do every Christmas activity with our daughter and I just don't have the energy (and I kind of don't want to set the example for her that those things are what Christmas is about).

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    1. That sounds lovely. Ah, going away for Christmas can be difficult. We've done it before but had to make the decision that at least the first few days of Christmas are spent at home. For a lot of the same reasons :) Still praying for and thinking about you <3

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  3. I love nesting as well, and decorating and making everything Merry and Cozy. The results are never up to my standards and rarely last long, but I've learned to accept that as this season in my family and go with it. I enjoy reading about your nesting, and I bet everyone feels loved by all your attentions!

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  4. This is so good and fits so well with what I was reading this morning....We don't have to earn Christmas, we dont' have to perform Christmas, we don't have to make Christmas....we can breathe Christmas - we can breathe Christ. If we come...simply come...God will give us the Christmas miracle - God with us.

    On the other hand...if you have extra energy to expend and want to come clean a different house, mine is available. Let me go check flight prices for you.... : )

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