I had an amazing mother, not a perfect mother, but an amazing one. She was beautiful and talented in many ways, plus she had an appealing personality as well as a delightful sense of humour. Sometimes as a young awkward girl, I would feel slightly dimmed by the shadow she cast.
But I remember one time she had a showing of her art. My sister and I usually went to these events. Everyone would say "you must be so proud of your mother" and I would say yes (although inside I was thinking 'well, I am kind of used to it, this is really no big deal for me....').If I was standing with my mother when someone came to her and raved about her work, she would put her arms around me and my sister and say "this is my best work right here".
I am thankful for a mother who could put things in perspective. She did the same thing with christmas. Oh sure, she decorated and baked and bought us a few lovely gifts, and sent Christmas cards and the whole bit.... but she would emphasize that it was a just a day among the 365 days of the year and we knew she loved us every day, not just on days where there were gifts and fussing around.
When we grew up, whenever we all got together, she would hug herself and smile as she looked at us and she would say "it is just like Christmas!" indicating that the best part of Christmas was just being together. She really knew how to prioritize.
I remember one time she was going away and leaving my dad and me and my sister alone (we were now teenagers) to fend for ourselves for a week or so. Instead of a long list of nagging instructions, inferring that we were too stupid to think for ourselves, she left one little note on the fridge which said:
PLANTS NEED WATER
CATS NEED FOOD
PEOPLE NEED LOVE
I am thankful also that she did not react to my clumsiness. If I spilled milk or broke a glass she would never get angry, she and I would just clean it up together. If she could see that I was upset she would make sure that it just didn't matter, it was just milk, or it was just a glass. Milk and glasses don't matter, people do.
I will never forget, when she had terminal cancer and she only had a few days or weeks left, she was in her bedroom, and I was in the kitchen getting something ready for her and I dropped a glass. It made quite a crashing noise on the tile floor. In her weakened state she called from her bedroom "Merry Christmas!" which lightened the concern over the broken glass and reminded me that she didn't worry about such things.
May you be able to keep Christmas in perspective this year. Give to it what you can, take from it what you can, ignore it if you want. God has created you and he knows all about you, your joys and sorrows, your needs and your wants, your good memories and your painful ones. My prayer for you is that God will bless you this Christmas in a way that is special, just for you, and in a way that has little to do with this man-made season.
I won't be blogging again until the beginning of the new year and so I bid you Season's Greetings until then....