When You Can't Do Christmas Anymore

I just opened a chocolate bar.  A fancy fair-trade-four-dollar-and-fifty-cent candy bar that was part of someone else’s gift. I unwrapped it and I ate it.

I’m not sorry.

I tend to impulsively tear into chocolate when “I can’t do it anymore.” Perhaps this minor break down was fed by the 2 ½ hours of unexpected traffic I sat in with four kids today. Or maybe it was the screaming match about someone wanting someone to stay out of someone’s room and someone’s foot getting slammed in someone’s door. Perhaps it was the burnt dinner after a long day, the chicken coop that needs a new roof, or the coffee shop that lacked indoor seating on a rainy day. While all of these are certainly chocolate shoving worthy I think most of all it was just because I’m done.

It’s December 22nd and I feel like I can’t do it anymore. It’s the home stretch, the part where my eyes start to burn from “all the pretty lights” and every Christmas song I hear makes me want to rip my ears off. We’ve been doing this since November 25th, isn’t that long enough? I’m tired and I ran out of Christmas spirit last Friday after performance number five at the Christmas sing along at school.

No, I don’t want another cookie!

Not to make myself Jesus here but my job as a mother is to do for my children what they cannot do for themselves. And Christmas is something that they simply cannot pull off. It’s up to me to hang the lights and shop the shops. I even wrapped all of my wall hangings in wrapping paper and bows. There is Christmas everywhere in our little home. For the most part I enjoy the festivities. I just run out of energy and get tired of faking it, yet somehow we always seem to make it.

Somehow December 25th always comes. The day is always merry and bright. My kids are grateful and not as disappointed as I fear they will be. I breathe a great big, sigh of relief. Christmas is finally here.

Some of you are die-hard Christmas fans and hate to see the day go (if so you are probably a man) and some of you are nodding your tired heads in agreement with this worn down mom. It is usually the former who offer the latter solutions for our advent angst. We are told to slow down, enjoy the season, focus on Jesus, don’t get wrapped up in the holiday, SIMPLIFY! Just a few more burdens, a few more “little l” laws to add to my ten foot list, thank you very much!

While ripping into a chocolate bar that was not my own I offered myself this one consolation–Christmas is almost here. While my children, who are bouncing off the walls hopped up on candy canes and hot cocoa, anticipate the arrival of Christmas and all the goodness it holds for them, I have a different anticipation, one that also comes from too many candy canes and hot cocoa.

I wish I could say that my anticipation was more holy, more centered around the miracle of the incarnate Son but it’s more about looking forward to the day of relief when all the preparation and expectation comes to an end with one final morning of doing for them what they cannot do for themselves.

I don’t feel guilty anymore about being tired of Christmas. I refuse to carry shame over my lack of making Jesus the reason for the season. I now realize that the advent is about longing. It’s about needing Jesus so badly because you are tired and weary and ripping open presents that aren’t yours. We ache and we wear down. We moan and groan with all our doing on less sleep and more caffeine. We push through the guilt of wanting it to all be said and done with for another year. We need someone to save us from it all. That’s the beauty of Christmas day–the waiting is finally over. 

In a few long days I will sit on the couch at 5:30 am with coffee in hand, eyes half open, watching my children celebrate what they have so anxiously awaited.

And then my gift will come.

What I have been waiting for and what I long for most, someone to pick up the slack and save me from this madness. Someone who is finally willing and able to do for me, this fizzled out old scrooge of a mom, what I cannot do for myself. Jesus himself. Thanks be to God! 

Who knew that a baby would come to relieve me from my angst and to absolve me from stealing chocolate bars? It truly is a Christmas miracle.