It’s the day before Christmas Eve
And all through the house
I’ve a plan in the making
For me and my spouse…
Our stockings are hung
By the chimney with care
In hopes that whomever
Tries harder to care… to share… to love… to forgive … to accept…
Okay- so my poem reads a little differently than the one we usually hear this time of year. But that’s what I’m focusing on, accepting and enjoying “different.” Not just the kind of different that make my husband and me better together but the kind that set us apart too, reminding us of who we are individually and dare I say… who we’re not.
The Plan is to joyfully grasp and gravel with the idea of different and to accept those who see things differently and be accepted by the same token.
Sounds like a tall order, huh? Well, it is, both for a jolly ol’ saint dressed in red and white going chimney to chimney and for those of us striving to maintain Christmas cheer around festive tables of tradition. You know us; we often miss both the point and person of Christmas altogether until it’s too late and we’ve worked ourselves into a tizzy over unimportant details, or when we’ve lashed out (audibly and silently) at loved ones for their versions of different or when we’ve failed to accept what is and then rejected what isn’t. Like Christmas cookies, no two are exactly alike but if mixed with all the same delicious ingredients, even though the are different they taste the same, even the broken pieces!
The Art of Enjoying Different is to take one delicious bite at a time, accepting and appreciating each crumble for what it is.
Accept that this year is different… it is not the past; It’s the present. People, places and traditions change every single year.
- Accept that my family is different … we’re neither the family next door, nor the one down the street nor the one on the other side of town. We’re us and we’re doing the best WE know how to do.
- Accept that my narrative is different… my story belongs to me, and not to others and that is ok. It makes me who I am. As for the others, they have a story too …
I know I cannot go back and relive the awesome memories or awful mistakes of the past, nor can I go forward and live the expectations of the future, at least not yet. I cannot even go door to door photo-bombing the special moments of others or teleport myself into pretend movie sets and magazine photo ops. But I can be inspired:
By cleverly staged photos and well written stories played out in pixels on screens, both big and small, yet different from my own
By the real-life people and places with which I have the priceless privilege of being acquainted, though they are different.
By the life lessons we learn from doing life together and differently.
Yes, I can be inspired to grasp reality, yours and mine, with a gratitude for the unique experiences and expressions we each enjoy. I can gravel with the fact that there’s always a 20/20 hindsight moment in the making because of our differences. It’s in those moments that we have reason to pause and ponder our actions and reactions and whether or not to extend the very grace extended to us by Father Christmas Himself, Christ Jesus.
Speaking of Christ and Christmas-
I cannot celebrate Christmas without celebrating Christ at the table of Creation, where in the beginning He fashioned the most fabulous feast of all time in a perfect garden setting, the place where He first called us to come and dine.
I cannot celebrate Christmas without celebrating Christ at the table of the Cross, where in the middle of time as we know it, He fulfilled His plan to redeem the failures of mankind (especially mine) after we left His beautifully set table in the garden to sneak a bite of the forbidden fruit pie, the one never intended for our consumption.
I cannot celebrate Christmas without celebrating Christ at the table of our eternal Celebration, where He went to prepare an even better place for us to gather and be relieved of our earthly sufferings: our pain and our shame.
I’ve decided I think I like different. It tastes good, especially when eaten one sweet bite at a time chased by a glass of grace and gratitude.
How about you? Want to join me in embracing others in hopes that they will likewise embrace you back in the same manner?
Oh my! I feel a New Year’s resolution of a “different” kind emerging. (pun intended)