No matter how many carols played, or how many gifts I wrapped.. I just wasn’t feeling it.
The Christmas Spirit left when the chicken pox arrived. (Funny how that happens, huh?) Michael and Matt were maybe 3+5… and they decided to share the gift that keeps on giving… communicable disease.
For a solid month we had to stay home as they took turns with fevers and itching….cabin fever doesn’t begin to describe how I felt. It was awful.
Yup- right at Christmas. I was disappointed, lonely and depressed.
We’d scrimped and saved and planned ahead to have a most wonderful time of the year. Gifts were wrapped… Our stockings were hung from a shelf in the family room… (no fireplace ) The tree blinked in our front room window… but it didn’t matter. Nothing helped.
I baked. (and ate.) We played connect the dots with chicken pox. (I have one child who’s still angry about that.. apparently he doesn’t remember it fondly…) We watched videos. (Maybe the Barney videos are what pushed me over the edge…OY. I hate Barney.) I tried hard to make the best of it.
But.. each night,when everyone finally went to bed… I felt like crying. Some nights, I did. Having sick kids is stressful and exhausting.. AND THIS JUST WENT ON FOREVER. The places in my heart where I should have felt “Christmas-y” instead felt: wrung out, sad and empty. Instead of finding Christmas joys each day.. I found disappointment- over and over. The holidays aren’t just ONE day… there are a bazillion things to do and places to go… traditions to celebrate and enjoy….or not.
- the holiday pageant at church
- The Christmas MOPS meeting
- Christmas shopping together.
- Family meals shared.
- Holiday parties.
Each event missed, left me more and more depressed. The boys were sad. My husband was sad.
I tried not to be. I tried to make it fun. I tried to mom-up, and deal…
It didn’t work.
Christmas cards arrived each day, and they mostly made me feel jealous. I was jealous of the holiday cheer we were missing out on. “Does anyone care that we’re trapped here, alone… with a pox upon us?” (You get a little crazy about day 3 of isolation.. and we were on WEEK 3…of course, my kids got them one after the other. A solid month of quarantine….I was losing it. ) I felt like I ran a leper colony. (We pretty much did. This was before chicken pox shots were available)
One particularly sad night, we were watching holiday specials between doses of benadryl and calamine lotion pat downs…when someone suddenly banged on our front door.
“It must be a bill collector…it figures.” I thought. “Maybe, they’ll go away. if we don’t answer the door.” (we were young, times were tough… it could have been a bill collector. Who else stopped by after dark? :P)
It wasn’t a bill collector.
When my husband opened the door— there was huge group of teenagers on our front lawn.
I wondered if they were out causing trouble.. (wouldn’t be the first time, in that neighborhood…) and then.. they started to sing:
All is calm. all is bright….
It was the youth group from our home church…. caroling. I fought back tears.
Finally… I felt it: Christmas-y. Someone cared. Someone came. They brought Christmas to us when we least felt it, and most needed it.
The rest of our holiday had a totally different feel. My attitude changed. Sure- I was still exhausted and stressed. The kids were still sick. There were things that we missed. But we were together, and for once there was no running around from one house to another- trying to see everyone and do everything… it was just “us.”
I liked it. So did they.
I’ll never forget those carolers…… and their unexpected gift.
Question: What makes you feel “Christmasy?
Maybe you’ve stopped by and you’re not feeling it…maybe the kids are sick or bill collectors are banging on the door…I want you to know that I care. And you’re not alone. I’ve been there, felt that, and lived to enjoy the holidays again… and I’m praying for you.. right now.
“Dear Lord- the holidays are wonderful and complicated. Sometimes they are disappointing and they are way stressful…I pray that for anyone who reads today thats not feeling it.. that you’d pour out your love to them- and let them know they are not alone..I love you lord– amen.
Here’s something that always makes me feel Christmas-y enjoy! (but I gotta say.. I prefer those teens singing in my yard..)