We stayed in Louisville this Christmas. It was the first time that it was just our family without our relatives around. It was our first ham-at-home experience, first 10-pounds-of-mashed-potatoes-for-seven-people, and first skype-induced-Christmas.
It was different, but honestly pretty great. As I woke up this morning I didn't feel the Christmas hangover. I haven't seen it in the kids or felt it in the air. There were presents and food, but this Christmas was slow. The lead up was slow. The weekend was simple. The result, I believe, is joy.
It's not about staying home or being away from family. The thing that is standing out to me right now is that there wasn't so much pressure on Christmas. Nothing had to be like Norman Rockwell. Nothing had to be glamorous or glorious. My kids breath smelled like chocolate covered funk all day and the world kept spinning. Even the toy playing was slower and less urgent.
I think that many of the Christmases I have had were full of driving, partying and caffeine. I'm sure plenty in the future will as well, but this Christmas I learned something about pacing. I'm slow. I walk slow, drink coffee slow and for a guy drive extremely slow. It only makes sense that I celebrate my Savior's birthday slowly too.
When I try to speed up I miss too much. I end up passing what I love and lacking joy. As I sit in my office on the 26th listening to some awesome Herbie Hancock I feel joy. Not that my kids got the presents that they wanted, but that my Savior lived so that I can too. Things are far from perfect, but if they were why would we have Christmas.
On this December 26th I feel joy. I pray that you do too.