Every other year Christmas is weird.

Duncan and Berry go to their Dad’s, which means we have to re-schedule Christmas. It’s not an easily re-schedulable holiday.

Two years ago, we let them open a couple of presents (ones they could take with them) right before they left and then did the main gift giving when they returned in early January.

This year, the way things fall with school holidays, their trip and our other kids’ parenting schedule, our choice was Christmas 10 days early or in mid-January. We went with Dec. 15.

I’m a Christmas machine!

Fortunately, I was prepared enough to pull this off. Over the years, I’ve become a veritable Christmas machine.

Shopping was done by the time Thanksgiving weekend was over (almost entirely online). We took the family photo. I used Snow Days 4 and 5 (we had an entire week off school!) to create the 2014 calendar. Christmas cards were written and ordered. Presents were wrapped.

But I really haven’t been into Christmas yet this year.

Catching the Christmas spirit. Or not.

I made it through early Christmas OK. But it was a bit rough.

Getting into the spirit has been a slow process, even as the Christmas machine has been in high gear.

Perhaps it’s because Duncan and Berry won’t be here. And the thought of the hearts that live outside of my body going away at Christmas tears at me. I know I’ll be fine when they’re away. It’s the pre-missing them that always gets me.

Perhaps it’s because I’ve finally weaned off my prescription anti-depressant (I really want to write about that sometime). And that I ran out of St. John’s Wort during the week of snow days when we became trapped inside during the cold, dark days of no school.

Perhaps I miss my Mum.

Whatever the reason, I’ve gone through the Christmas motions and fulfilled my obligations without feeling the joy.

What is Christmas?

What is Christmas to me, anyway? I’m not Christian. I love Jesus and I’m happy to celebrate his birth (even though it didn’t happen in December). He was a great guy.

I like the earth-based celebrations of the Solstice and the returning of the light.

I like giving. Although I’m not really chuffed with Santa getting the credit.

As a teenager I remember liking the opportunity to have a time to consciously set aside the nonsense of life — the resentments, the angst, the anger — and focus on being kind, loving, helpful, caring, generous. I was a teen, I had lots of angst. It was good to have a time to really try to get on well with my Mum.

But now I consciously do that pretty much every day (ironically, it’s been lots harder recently during the Christmas season).

I read this quote from the Science of Mind magazine recently, which is helping me figure out what Christmas is about for me now:

We are celebrating this month not just the birth of a traditional figure…but the birth into the human consciousness, into each one of us, of something transcendent and immediate and effective and available—the Law of Good, the Divine Presence, the Universe revealing Itself to us directly, personally, intimately. There is nothing that can hinder us but ourselves.

This birth in our consciousness [is] the realization of love, of truth, of beauty, of peace, of power, so that each will be an influence for good to everyone else. We must become filled with a realization of the Presence of God in everything and everywhere. Then shall the pure in heart see God; then shall all nature speak to us; then shall people be close and dear to us, and we shall know no stranger and we shall not be lonely. When faith multiplies our expectancy with hope and conviction, we shall have no fear, and we shall know that even now, today, we really are immortal beings on the pathway of eternal destiny, forevermore to expand.

May all the Power that there is be with you, and may the glory of the meaning of Christmas flood your consciousness with a light that is perfect and eternal, now and forevermore.

From “Accept the Good You Desire” by Dr. Ernest Holmes, SOM Dec 2013.

 Still working on it

Duncan and Berry visit Santa.

In all honestly, I’m still a bit crabby. The kids are leaving in 3 days. The clothes dryer broke. Organizing when whose kids and family members are going to be where so we can get away for a short trip has been a hassle.

Then I picked up the kids’ Santa photos. Something about them made me all mushy inside. They’ve clearly got the spirit.

And I don’t suppose it really matters why they’re that happy. Just that they are.