Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Making Peace With Christmas - Guest Post by Sheila Seiler Lagrand

Sheila Lagrand is a fellow Helping Hands Press author. Welcome, Sheila! Thanks for guest posting here today. 

In my strident youth I was a Christmas militant. I railed against the displays of candy canes and chocolate snowmen lurking about the bags of Halloween candy. I fumed as tinsel mingled with the harvest cornucopia in some kind of mall marketing miscegenation. I averted my eyes when neighbors’ Christmas lights brightened the street before we had celebrated Thanksgiving.

Not this year. Maybe it’s because I’m not as young as I used to be. Maybe it’s because the grandchild count has risen to nine—which means more gifts, more wrapping, more time to dream up selections that say I love you. Maybe it’s because I’m traveling across an ocean to spend Christmas with my daughter, her Navy-Chief husband, and their children on Guam. For all these reasons, I have overcome my Christmas-season-snobbery. Never again, Lord help me, will I judge the mom scooping up the latest Legos in October.

And never again will I jam all the gift-choosing, making, ordering, or buying into the precious few weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It was a legalistic maneuver all along, I see now, not a decision born of grace and joy. And what is more important at Christmastime than grace and joy? As I consider it today, I can’t even remember why I thought it was such an achievement to exhaust myself by squeezing every bit of preparation into a few short weeks.

After all these hard-line years, it’s been deliciously daring to choose gifts in October, to be laying in stores of red-and-green tissue during the first crisp days of autumn.  Once I committed to changing my approach, and my attitude, about the Christmas schedule, I reaped an unexpected bonus: The rejoicing heart, the sense of blessedness as I reflect on the priceless gift of our Savior, the real key elements to the Christmas season, they kicked in early, too. Instead of three or four weeks of an overflowing heart, I’ve enjoyed the jubilation since late October.

I understand better now the friend who sings carols in March, the heart-sister who displays a Christmas tree all year long. I’ve been cheating myself out of a heap of exultation. So if we cross paths at the beach next summer, please don’t be surprised if I greet you with a hearty “Merry Christmas!” 

You can meet Sheila at 

Writers and Readers: When do you start looking for special gifts for Christmas?
Photo Credit: greenolive


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Susan and Sheila .. life is so much easier if we get things done early .. so I'm pleased you're going to be able to go to Guam and enjoy time with your daughter and some of those 9 grandchildren ..

Enjoy and cheers Hilary

JD said...

As an early planner, I can appreciate people who get things done efficiently and then relax when everyone else is fussing about! Good for you for finding the joy in extending the Christmas celebration. Enjoy Guam and seeing your grand-babies.