Christmas morning came and two of our three children were sick. Only 2 and 4 years old at the time, it was miserable for all of us. The Christmas morning I envisioned of excited kids bounding down the stairs tearing into presents was replaced with kids dragging down the stairs, collapsing on the floor, not caring about the gifts under the tree. It was heartbreaking.
Reality had once again collided with my expectations and won.
My expectations are always grand for holidays. However, they rarely turn out as imagined. Hospital stays, burned dinners, temper tantrums, broken toys within an hour of opening, forgotten batteries for electronics, Christmas trees falling, napkins catching on fire from candles, and many more ludicrous happenings have played into destroying my well laid plans.
However, even when the ridiculous happens, the holidays can still be wonderful and memorable. When chaos threatens your holiday plans remember:
- The holiday is not ruined – Think back to some of your most treasured memories. Are those memories because everything went according to plan or were they made in the midst of chaos? Many of our cherished memories are rooted in the center of craziness. We may be forced to change or even postpone our plans but that does not mean the holiday is ruined. Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus. This can be done by attending a church service or simply reading the Christmas story from the bible. When we celebrate Jesus, it’s a successful holiday no matter what happens.
- There’s always Plan B – Being a mom, I sometimes feel like I live in Plan B mode. A night curled up on the couch with hot chocolate and a movie is almost always interrupted with, “Mom I need a ride to so and so’s house,” or “Mom, I have to chart every star in the sky for Science on fuchsia poster board and it’s due tomorrow!” When Plan A turns to chaos, we automatically kick in with Plan B. Holidays are no different. When my father-in-law was in the hospital on Christmas, we postponed our celebration until he was released after the New Year. Another year, when dinner was burned, we laughed and got out the lunchmeat. There’s always Plan B when we look for it and most times can be just as fulfilling or even better than Plan A.
- Celebrate “Now” – The past is over, the future is not yet here. All we have is “now.” Live in it and accept it for what it is without disappointment over what could have been. Memories are made in the “now” moments. Make the best of whatever situation you find yourself in at that moment. Concentrate on the people around you at that moment. Release your need to control the situation at that moment. Taking control of thoughts and not allowing the “if only’s” to enter our minds, we avoid disappointment and welcome the joy of that moment.
Jennifer Rothschild, a Christian speaker and writer who went blind as a teenager says, “It may not be well with my circumstances but it is well with my soul.” We, of course, need to plan for the holidays. But if those plans go awry, all can still be well with our soul. When we realize the holiday is not ruined, we welcome Plan B, and celebrate the “now” of the moment, we can find joy and even make lasting, precious memories.
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©2012 Connie Davis Johnson