As the pre-holiday stress hits alarming levels, I find myself buried with tasks I am trying to cram into three short weeks: ordering Christmas cards, organizing the staff party, decorating the house, all while forgetting the relaxation of Thanksgiving at the beach just five days ago. “Where does the time go,” I say silently as I drag my daughter, Senia Mae, shopping at 10 am on Thursday morning, squeezing in some power shopping before I have to leave for work at 2:45.
My favorite CD is belting out Christmas Wrappings as the words drill into my cerebellum like brainwashing: “Friends of mine already mad rush just cause its ’tis the season.” Laughing out loud I realize that is exactly what I am doing, heading to Target for tinsel and pre-lit garland, Home Goods for a table runner and a sleek, sophisticated version of a 1970’s themed Christmas tree, and Walmart for more extension cords and an outside timer.
Senia Mae and I have made it in and out of the first store in an amazing 40 minutes, and I am checking my watch to see if we are keeping the right pace. Just as I am tugging at her seat belt for the third time, checking to make sure it is secure, then racing to the front seat to sprint to our next shopping destination, Senia Mae says, “Mommy, you do know that Christmas is not about lights.”
“What do you mean?” I ask.
“Well, even though the lights are pretty, Christmas is not about lights. It is not about decorations, and it is not even about presents. Christmas is a time when we celebrate the birth of Jesus.” Senia Mae sits in the back seat chatting as if she was talking to me about what we were going to have for lunch, completely matter-of-fact. Those were the exact words I should have to say to her, the four-year old, when she complains that she didn’t get enough for Christmas. But instead, she is having to give me, the forty-year old, the “let me tell you the true meaning of Christmas” lecture. I was absolutely flabbergasted.
“You are so right,” I said to her. “Sometimes it is easy to get forget what we are celebrating. The lights remind us of the Northern star and that is why I love to decorate, but thank you for reminding me that Christmas is really about Jesus and not just getting everything done in time.” I rolled my eyes, embarrassed at my behavior in front of my impressionable child.
“It’s okay, Mommy,” she says innocently, turning her attention back to the singing cactus on her lap that continuously plays “Tequila.” We got the rest of our errands run, but as I sat at the stoplight thinking of the profound wisdom resonating from the backseat, it made me wonder exactly who is the teacher and who is the student!
Previously published on The Significance of Having Curly Hair. Photo courtesy of Kara Zajac.
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