I'm wondering why I do not feel the normal amount of stress that accompanies the arrival of the Christmas season. In fact, I am relieved to announce that I am not overwhelmed with obligations this year. But why not? There is still much to do. I haven't wrapped a single gift. There are a few more gifts yet to be purchased. And I still don't know what I am expected to bring to Christmas dinner.
When I look at the life of the Bray family this season, compared to last Christmas... Perhaps the answers are there. Our days are so different than they once were.
The boys are not in public school. So we're not rushing out the door every morning to get there. And my outings no longer revolve around what time I have to pick them up. There's no homework, no lunchboxes to pack, no parental volunteer hours expected.
I do not have any leadership responsibilities outside of our home. Last year, I was the coordinator of our MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group in Lexington. This year, I have no preschoolers. So I have no meetings to plan, no phone calls to make, no events to coordinate.
This change in lifestyle has affected my attitude about when and where and what I am willing to give my time to. The answer has come to this... my family. And while it may sound selfish, I believe it has made all the difference for the four of us.
I spent the first five years of my youngest child's life looking for respite outside of our home, pouring myself into social obligations with the belief that it was what was best for us all, not realizing that those hours spent away from home were making the hours at home so much more stressful. When God laid it upon my heart to homeschool, I was so frightened of the responsibility, wondering how on earth I could entertain my children from sun-up to sun-down. Yet it has proven to be the best decision we have ever made.
Our days are much simpler now. We get up. We have breakfast together. We do school together. We have lunch together. We do chores together. We play together. We have supper together. We read together. We watch TV together. I'll be the first to say I am shocked that we don't get tired of it. It is truly wonderful. And it has inspired me to adopt the "simple life" this Christmas season.
This Christmas, I have let go of any responsibility that is not in the best interest of my family. It has not been easy. I've declined party invitations. I've cancelled our annual Christmas party. I've refused to get caught up in the hussle and bussle. I know I may sound like a humbug. But this year, it's what we need... to focus on the blessing of family.
And as I sit here, not stressed, not overwhelmed, not panicked, I am so happy to have found the courage to say "no" to so many potential obligations. This year, the Bray family has felt more like a family than any year before. While I doubt our Christmases to come will be this stress-free, I am thankful that this year, we have the time to "be merry".
Merry Christmas to you all! God bless!