Christmas Eve Will Find Me…
You know the old song “Christmas Eve will find me… where the love light gleams- I’ll be home for Christmas…”? Well, Christmas Eve will find me lounging on the couch by the fire, watching snow flakes falling gently outside my window while sipping my old fashioned cocoa (made with real milk heated on the stove) and munching gingerbread men I baked myself.
As I sit here, my glance turns to the lovely tree piled high with gifts and my joyful heart swells at how blessed I am. What a perfect Christmas setting surrounds me.
Now before you get the idea I’m some sort of paragon of a woman enjoying the perfect Christmas Eve, note that all is not as it seems on the surface. Let me explain. I’m on the couch only because that is where I collapsed in exhaustion. There isn’t a bone in my body that isn’t aching. When I close my eyes, instead of visions of sugar plums dancing in my head, I am having nightmare flash backs of the past couple of weeks.
Taking a sip of my cocoa, I cringe trying not to notice the burnt taste it acquired when it boiled over, making a sticky, gooey mess on the stove. Alas, it is only one in a long line of the usual Christmas events that I unsuccessfully try to pretend didn’t happen.
Then there’s the newly fallen snow — it always looks so pretty on those snow scene Christmas cards, but after spending 30 minutes digging the car out so I could hurry into town to buy gifts and arrive back home to a freezing house, I feel like using all my snow scene Christmas cards to light the fireplace.
Last, but especially not least there’s the tree! Whoever started the wives tale that decorating a tree is a heart warming and joyous occasion could not possibly have ever decorated one. The madness begins when you decide to cut down your own tree.
After hiking a mile through knee deep snow you find the perfect tree only to realize that you left the axe in the car. By the time you hike back to the car and then to the tree again the kids are tired and begging to go home. You have now sung every Christmas carol ever written and you are all eating snowballs trying to quench your thirst because your thermos of cocoa got dumped on the back seat of the car when the kids were fighting over it.
Freezing and frustrated, you hike back only to discover that your 4 wheel drive is snowed under and the tow truck bill alone could have bought a tree for every room of your home!
Once home, you find that the beautiful majestic piece of greenery which looked so perfect standing in the meadow of snow doesn’t look quite the same after you have had to chop it 4 times in order to get it to fit into your house. You wedge it into the tree stand- forget trying to make it straight! You’re just excited that it stays in the stand without falling over. It’s amazing what you can do with baling wire and duct tape.
You string your own popcorn (another story in itself), singing more carols and hang gingerbread men only to find later that the tree is laying prostrate on the floor, stripped naked, having fallen to the mercy of the dog who grins at you, revealing his mouth full of severed gingerbread men limbs and a string from the popcorn garland.
Now you know why my heart swells with pride looking at my tree– because in our home it takes more work to put up a Christmas tree than it did to build the Empire State Building!
To say that I can relate to National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is an understatement and in some way or another, I think most of us can. In spite of that, each and every year, we once again try to find the perfect gift, the perfect tree and make the perfect dinner thinking this year we just might get it perfect.
It’s called hope – hoping that this year we will succeed, faith – faith that we will obtain it if we just keep trying and love – loving every minute of doing it. Like little children who forge on working hard in the bitter cold building a snowman, not noticing or caring that their toes and fingers are growing numb, we too love creating the perfect Christmas (or snowman) for our family to admire.
In the same way that we see only our child’s hard work and effort in his imperfect snowman, so our families will see and remember only mom’s hard work and sacrifice.
Just relax. So what if the cocoa tastes a little burnt and the tree is a little crooked. This too shall pass — and then you get to look forward to doing it all over again next year!!!
We wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Photo By: popofatticus