Friday, December 21, 2012

A Perfect Christmas

Traditional Christmas carols, the ones which have been around for decades and are played repeatedly on the radio this time of year, seem to have a magical touch when it comes to getting people in the Christmas spirit. They paint a detailed picture of what the perfect Christmas looks like: a blanket of snow, lights and decorations glistening around every corner, the hustle and bustle of shoppers as they check off their lists, children overflowing with excitement in anticipation of Santa and his sleigh, joy and good cheer filling the air, worries cast aside, and families and friends gathering to spend precious time together. Who wouldn’t be left feeling even a little cheerful after listening to these heart-warming songs?
I have grown up hearing these songs. I remember knowing the words to many of them as young as six years old, and learned many more as I grew. They became a part of me during the Christmas season, and I enjoyed any opportunity to sing along (even if I don’t sound very pretty!). I loved hearing the words which described Christmas because they were the epitome of my own Christmases…snowy and cheerful and perfect. I couldn’t imagine a Christmas any different.

When I got married and moved away from the northern winters, Christmas looked a little different. It was no longer cold and snowy, but I soon adjusted. However, the Christmas of 2008 changed everything. My husband was away on his first deployment. As the weeks prior to Christmas clicked by, I found myself unable to grasp my Christmas spirit. All of those songs which usually filled me with joy only made me feel worse. They reminded me that I wouldn’t be able to share all of those wonderful, perfect things with my husband. They reminded me that he wouldn’t be able to watch his baby girl’s face as she opened her Christmas presents. They reminded me of how imperfect this year would be because our family wasn’t whole. All I wanted to do was curl up in my bed and sleep until Christmas was over.
Now, we are four years past that first imperfect Christmas. Since then, our family has survived one other Christmas apart due to deployment. But this year, we are together. This year, our Christmas is perfect again. Over the years, the meaning of all those Christmas songs has changed for me. I no longer see them as describing the perfect Christmas, but rather things which make it a little nicer. A white Christmas is nice, but it doesn’t make it perfect. The hustle and bustle of shopping is nice, but it doesn’t make it perfect. Santa and reindeer and presents are nice, but they don’t make it perfect. An abundance of joy and good cheer is nice, but it doesn’t make it perfect.
What makes it perfect is being able to share all of those things with the ones you love. What makes it perfect is having your family complete. What makes it perfect is knowing that even if there is no snow or you don’t host a Christmas party or you can’t see all of your family because they are too far away or you don’t do every Christmas festivity you had planned, at the end of the day you are surrounded by the ones who make your heart whole, the ones who you’d want to spend the season with no matter what it looked like.     

I know the future will bring more imperfect Christmases for our family, and that is okay. But for now I sing loud with joy and gratitude for this year’s perfect Christmas.

No comments:

Post a Comment