Remember when you were a young child and you were so excited for Christmas? It seemed like it would never get here! The anticipation of Santa Claus bringing what I most wanted and all the other packages around the tree was almost too much.

“Anticipation is the electricity of childhood,” (Jason Kotecki).

I’m not sure that it has changed much as I’ve grown older. No, I don’t count on Santa and his eight reindeer anymore, but to me, Christmas has always been a magical time. The twinkling lights, the smells of fresh greenery or maybe cookies right out of the oven. Christmas music playing softly in the background while the fire crackles, providing a warm glow (even if it’s just on your television screen.)

However, what has changed is that the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, which seemed like it would last forever, now is so fleeting.

There is not enough time in December to do everything that needs to be done. The decorating, baking, shopping and wrapping. Everything I loved as I was growing up takes a surprising amount of time to accomplish.

How does the normal person do it all? Seriously, I was turning myself inside out and upside down preparing for the holiday. So much so that I was too tired to even enjoy Christmas. I do it every year. I get lost in the minute details of preparing.

But how do you decide what is important and what is not? What is necessary and what can I let go? With the holidays or with everyday life? I wanted to be able to do it all. It is something that I’ve struggled with most of my adulthood.

But as I’m advancing in years, I’m realizing that I don’t have a super hero’s cape, and I don’t want one. I want peace and tranquility. I want a Hallmark movie life, where there is love and laughter and good always prevails. I want to know what is most important and prepare accordingly.

What I want for Christmas can’t be wrapped up under the tree, but it is felt in the heart. So my prayer for this season is: “Lord, thank you for a fresh reminder that Advent, the period of waiting, not only defines who we are waiting for, but also defines us, the people who wait. We experience this season by expecting and preparing our hearts and hopes for the arrival of your son. Oh Lord, will you give me wonder and imagination so I may once again enter the story of your first coming? To see and experience anew the stories of Joseph and Mary, Elizabeth and Zechariah, the shepherds, and Jesus’ birth. To make myself ready for the Advent of when you return again. To fill my heart with wonder of Isaiah’s proclamation, 'For unto us a child is born and a son is given... His name is Emmanuel... God with us.' I want to be involved in the story this year. I want to experience it in a new and fresh way, and by your grace, learn the joy and wonder of waiting for you,” (Marinerschurch.org).

I’m learning more and more that life is a work in progress and how blessed I am to be able to have that time. Time to be the person God wants me to be.

“The holiday season, as we prepare, plan and ponder the beauty of these next few weeks, let us not lose sight of the reason we gather: to celebrate, reflect and pour out gratitude for the blessings found through our savior,” (Jennifer Schmidt, "Balancing Beauty and Bedlam").

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