My son asked for an Elf on the Shelf and my chest constricted. It was like he doesn’t even know who I am. Or hasn’t been paying attention to the amount of managing happening around our home while we transition temporarily to a family of seven. But Christmas isn’t about managing systems to him. He believes with all his six year old little heart that trixy informant of perma-surveillance will move itself. To my son, Christmas is still about the magic. The miracle.
Usually at Christmas I want the house scent cinnamony, the harmonic carols loud, and every last twinkle light twinkling. But not this year. This year boxes of decorations are still shelved in the garage. The door stands naked of adornment.
We have a minimally decorated tree in the corner, bottom half empty because two year olds. We have a basket of holiday books on the hearth and an advent book on the table. That is it.
I don’t want the decorations. The candles and the presents, the tinsel and movies can’t be Christmas. This year, more than ever, I need it quiet. I need it calm. Even the usual garlands and wreaths feel claustrophobic to me. I can’t change the chaos happening around me in the world or our home but I can decide how much noise to bring in.
When it feels like every nerve ending is fried with the sadness and need of humanity, what is desired is calm and the soothing comfort of hope.
When you don’t want to Christmas at Christmastime, possibly, you are not the problem. Possibly, you are aware that the main thing needed this year across the world and in your own heart’s home is hope.
Hope coming. That is Christmas magic. That is the only Christmas we need.