Lord, help me to be grateful for what I have, to remember that I don’t need most of what I want, and that joy is found in simplicity and generosity. Amen
Tucked away somewhere under the boxes and bags, the tinsel and lights – there really is a December simplicity. We hardly ever give it a chance to take root in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. How could we? Lists of things to do, buy, wrap, prepare. A dizzying array of must-accomplish and almost forgot to keeps our minds filled to the brim. What little room that is left of our energy is hardly spent on considering the purpose of the season and the value of reflection.
For me, this December just needed to be different. I knew it was a Christmas season like no other before. And so following instinct and a whisper, I chose simplicity. If I over-produced, over-planned and over-shopped I could have easily taken the bite out of the first Christmas as a daughter without my mother.
Instead, I chose to keep my mother at the forefront of my thoughts. Wrapping gifts one recent afternoon, a quiet Sunday, I thought of how much she loved to wrap a package and place a joyful ribbon on her gifts. She had beautiful handwriting and her cards reflected her thoughtfulness and love for the recipient always.
Our usual tree and decorations, this year replaced by a most beautiful, simple tree. A tree that my mother kept up year round with dainty little white lights. She would light the tree all throughout the year, just because. I adorned this petite tree with the slightest of decoration – a couple dozen mini metallic balls, a stretch of ribbon to hug the tree all around and one beautiful ornament – a dragonfly of multicolor from my sister-in-law – because she understands.
I chose not to enter a single big chain store or mall. I visited peaceful, local shops instead. I chose to take a year off from sending my traditional Christmas card. There has been a little less gift purchasing. And only a few sweet things will be baked.
By choosing simplicity, ultimately, there is room to feel loss, while also beginning to feel a glimpse of hope. At a recent memorial of a wonderful Greek woman in our extended family, I first learned of the word elpida – which means hope after loss as the sermon shared. May your days ahead be mindful and in slow motion. May the simplest of things bring you the greatest of joys!