Christmas is different now than it was when I was a kid. Â Â Then, I could lie on my stomach on the carpet and color in a Santa coloring book, dreaming about the presents I’d get in a few days’ time; now, I’m the one wrapping the presents until 1 AM. Â Then, I only had to do the fun work of cutting out and decorating Christmas cookies; now, I am the one pulling everything out of the kitchen Â cupboards, trying to remember if I actually own a sifter.
It’s still a fun season, don’t get me wrong … but it’s different. Â There’s the weight of Responsibility on my shoulders, hoping to get everything done before December 24th and always mourning the things that I did not quite manage to do.
Two nights before Christmas, though, Â I had a bit of an epiphany. Â I was in the spare room wrapping gifts late at night, just wanting to get the job done. Â Fold paper, apply tape; grab a bow out of the bag, peel the backing off, stick it on; find and Â write on tag, stick on package. Done. Â Repeat.
Then I looked back at my small pile of wrapped gifts and was struck by the prettiness of one of the bows. Â It had red underneath and green on top; the effect was lovely.
It was just a little thing, but it didn’t feel little. Â One beautiful bow pulled me out of my grim assembly-line mood and made me realize that even though I have a zillion things to do and probably always will as a mother whose life just seems to get busier and not easier as the kids get older, I can survive it all by letting my soul be refreshed by the little things.
It’s not a new or original realization, not even for me. Â I’ve written about this before, often. Â Is it a sign of weakness in me that I need to keep re-learning it, re-discovering it? Â Perhaps, but beating myself up isn’t what helps. Â What helps is to know that there are so many variations on this same lesson, and that there are always Â new opportunities to learn it.
Holiness is a loaded word, and one that I never feel comfortable applying to myself. Â As I paused in my folding and taping and pondered the two-toned ribbon, though, I thought,Â Maybe this is what holiness is. Â Maybe holiness is all about noticing the bow.Â
May your twelve days of Christmas be holy ones.