Ever thought about how the day after Christmas is so different from the night before our biggest holiday? Before is filled with anticipation, excitement, and preparation. The day after is clean up the mess time, work on leftovers, procrastinate about undecking the halls (sounds like a New Year’s Day project), and maybe a twinge of depression that the big day is over.
This year, the day after fell on Sunday, so the normal “day after” seems to me like it’s on overdrive. The house is quiet—holiday music seems so “yesterday” and I just couldn’t Face the Nation this morning. Why would anyone want to hear that squabbling on the day after Christmas?
Overnight, more snow fell—okay, we already had a white Christmas so I’m ready for it to stop. I decided to stay home instead of braving the slick roads to go to church this morning. Instead, I watched Joel Osteen on TV.
Joel’s message this morning, “Enjoy the Journey,” really hit home with me. The gist of his message was how we get too busy to enjoy the simple things in life. He talked about how we rush through life in anticipation of the big events and don’t have time to savor the small moments that make the memories. We need to squeeze time in our busy schedules to spend with family and loved ones, instead of zapping our energy with work and obligations.
I guess if a busy man like Joel Osteen can take time to savor the moment, it should be easy for me. When I examine my life, it seems to be mostly hectic, and too often hectic turns to frantic. I’ve just kept piling on obligations until they’ve taken on a life of their own. For the past week, I haven’t worried about all the things I should be doing, but have pretty much just shoved them aside. For once, my holiday has been respite from responsibilities.
Holidays were especially hard during the ten years of Jim’s dementia. Christmas activities pretty much confused him and he didn’t like the house being changed with decorations. When he was in the nursing home, he enjoyed the small Christmas tree I put in his room.
Each year is different in some way. If nothing else, the kids or grandkids are getting older. After our family get-together this year, my oldest grandson got behind the wheel of the family vehicle to drive them home. It doesn’t seem that long ago that we bought him Woody and Buzz Lightyear for Christmas.
While some really relate to the ho-ho-ho and jolly part of Christmas, others are filled with dread as they struggle to establish new traditions, or wonder how they will put on a happy face for everyone else. There’s a lot of internal and external pressure to be merry at Christmas. It’s expected.
As far as Christmas, I think I’ll just go with Joel Osteen’s idea to “Enjoy the Journey.” Each Christmas is different, but that doesn’t mean it is necessarily better or worse. The Christmases that may have seemed the most challenging at the time yield happy moments that turn into cherished memories. I can still see Jim wearing his Kansas City Chief’s shirt, mesmerized by the fiber optic tree. When I walked into his room, sometimes he would turn to me and his eyes would light up.
Life’s journey seems to be flying by and Christmas is a mile marker. Christmas is over, again. Now, it’s time to think about how to make the most of the 365 days of 2011. No one but me can put the “happy” in my New Year, but I might as well start with this day after Christmas. No time like the present to make a memory.
Copyright © December 2010 by L. S. Fisher