Sunday, December 19, 2010

in the event your holiday sucks

I never blog on Sunday. I usually take the weekends off.  But today's post is of a religious nature.  Writing blog posts of a religious nature is another thing I seldom do because I hold my faith near and dear to my heart. I often find it difficult to talk about my beliefs with other people.  I am a very private person in this way.

Nevertheless I do have something that I think I need to put out into the universe.  It is something amazing that I learned this last week that might be of value to someone out there.

Last Sunday I was asked to teach a lesson in church.  I was given the topic of The Sacrament.  I was a little bummed because I thought it might be hard to make the lesson interesting and engaging.  To this day I don't know if the lesson I gave was interesting to other people, but as is often the case, I learned a lot having taught the lesson.

To prepare, I researched what exactly happened the night of the last supper.  I wanted to get a sense of what that event was truly like.  One of the things I read that I never knew before was that during the last supper, the twelve disciples were fighting amongst themselves as to who would sit where.  Where you sat at the table at a passover meal denoted your station in that particular group.  So they were fighting over who was more important.

Do you remember this post I did a while ago?  I really do build things up in my head to be way more elaborate than they could really ever be.  I had began to build up this Christmas into a magical bacchanalia the likes of which our family has never seen.  I pictured well groomed children gathered around the counter sweetly frosting sugar cookies.  I wanted handmade cards and fun nights by the fire watching Christmas movies as a family.

Now make a huge leap with me to reality.

My kids start the day well groomed. By dinner time, they look like New York panhandlers.  They whine and fight and fuss and make huge messes. I have hardly any free time so making my own cards was out the question.  And those family nights by the fire? Oh we've tried to have them. They are nice until Birdie smacks Frankie with a block and gets in trouble. Then both babies are crying and Thom is screaming that he can't hear the show.

Good times.

So here's what I finally realized:  Here's what God taught me:  During Jesus's last supper here on Earth, a holiday meal, where he gathered with those that he loved,  there was fighting. Like real contention and bickering.  If even Jesus, son of God,  isn't capable of having a Martha Stewart holiday, what makes me think I can?

How pompous I have been to think that I could somehow strong arm my family into conforming to my silly idea of an ideal holiday.

The bottom line is an ideal holiday is a myth.  It doesn't exist.  At least not when children are involved.

So this year I will go and make merry. Even when Frankie barfs all over my Christmas dinner outfit, which I know he will. Even when The Boy pesters Birdie till she screams like a pterodactyl.   Even when my house is a mess.

And I will somehow capture a photo akin to Da Vinci's Last Supper when all looks calm and peaceful and maybe twenty years from now my memory will have faded enough for me to believe it was really true.


JanMary said...

A few years back which attempting to serve my guests and family their perfect Christmas dinner my 2 year old brought me back to reality with a bump when he threw his plate at the wall! I can still picture the gravy and turkey sliding down the wall!!!

Merry Christmas to you and yours from
N Ireland - for whatever your Christmas turns out to be :)

Anonymous said...

WOW. This is amazing! Thank you so much for this insight. So you SO right! I have to share this with my extended family when chaos inevitably ensures on Christmas night!


From the Kitchen said...

April, it's as if you took this right out of my head! First, my religion is very private. I live it. I don't talk about it very much.

It took me years to realize that I would never put together the perfect holiday. At one point, my children would literally cringe when they thought it was time to have a "Martha Stewart" event. I still wonder what goes through their minds in remembrance of holidays past!!

Hope you enjoy whatever comes your way this Christmas. Merry! Merry!


dorylyn said...

Ahhh, yes, I experienced that reality, too, when my now grown adult children would argue over who received the best toys...all day long into the night. One particular Christmas, Santa brought all three exactly the same thing. Talk about peace on earth! HA!

Elizabeth said...

Oh, yes. Yes. Thank you for this.

Jessa said...

Amen and Amen.

Kelly said...

I have been reading your blog, and I love the honesty. I think as women we struggle with the idea that we don't have it "together" unless the children look cute, the house is clean, we look awesome, and we make everything from scratch. We constantly strive to attain this ideal, and are disappointed when we fall short of our unrealistic expectations.

I want to be okay with the chaos of life, because I am coming to realize that it will always be there (especially with a toddler in the house). Your post spoke to my heart, and here's to a holiday where we can relish in the chaos and just be thankful!

PaperPumpkin said...

You know, I've been a little bummed out these past few days (you can probably tell by my unusually ornery post today) and I can honestly say I feel better after reading your post. I understand that no one is perfect and no Christmas is, either. They're funny, though! All that matters is that we do have our faith and love...and eachother. Thank you, and Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family. ~Kathy

Erin said...

You are so right--great post! I really am trying to "let go" and not feel like I have to control every aspect of the holidays this year! Everything will happen the way it is supposed to and it won't be perfect by any stretch...and that is ok! Merry Christmas! Erin

Jerusalem said...

what a true post! the first Christmas was spend in a smelly barn, why do we expect anything more? at least they were all together.

Jessica Munk said...

I taught the same lesson last week! And I too, looked for more material to make it more interesting. I was impressed to learn more about that last supper.
Thanks for sharing this thought, I hadn't seen it that way. And this is truly a perspective I need during the holidays. I so want things to be perfect and for everyone to get along and be happy. This will help me be more patient and loving. Thanks!

Cindy at LottieBird said...

This must be why memory loss happens when we get older. To gloss over the fighting.

Cindy at LottieBird said...

Sometime this Christmas, read this sentiment by Richard Paul Evans (I don't know where to find it online, I quoted it in a blog post last year--not a shameless plug!).

Or don't read it. If you don't want to cry.

Kimberly said...

Inspirational and real. Thanks for sharing what God taught you. Every Christmas I wonder about the song, "Silent Night" because I can't imagine it really was silent.