Today, I believe I was obligated to make room for rest.

Perhaps it would have been prudent to do this on Monday, when I woke at 1:30 in the blessed AM with an allergic reaction to I-don’t-know-what that put me out for the rest of the day and part of the next.  I would dearly love to know why my body felt that I must take the day, for certainly I had no wish to and I wasn’t convenient for my work schedule.

And yet, I somehow managed to push on for the rest of the week.  That is, until today, when again my body decided that it would have its way—whether I was amenable to a break or not.  That’s pretty much the state of things when I’m ill.  I stink at self-care, taking the time to pay attention to small signals that are, clearly, lost on me.  Perhaps, there was something to CD’s observation that my health is less than satisfactory, but—by my admission—it would be my own fault.

It’s not been a calm Christmas season.  I’ll admit to the regular frenzy of holiday time—it’s a bit inescapable when you’ve a large, widespread family and set of friends.  But, despite being accustomed to a happy sort of chaos around the holidays, this one has taken the cake for stressful.

I mentioned back in November (quite grumpily, if you’ll recall) that I had two callings (jobs) in my congregation that required me to be very involved in Christmas preparations.  I’ve been busy, entrenched in planning with women in my congregation trying to create an activity that allowed them to feel at home where many of them were far away from family.  I’m glad to report that one week ago, the activity was a success and many girls made sure to tell me they had a wonderful time.  I’m sure I had very little to do with it, except  for providing a wealth of food, as most of my efforts had been towards getting congregates to participate—to make a family-style Christmas that was unique to our group of women.  But I’m grateful to know that those efforts, as well as the efforts of those who volunteered were appreciated.

In every spare moment before and since, I’ve also been working with a valiant young man in the other congregation that shares our building to create a musical Christmas program.  We didn’t know we were to combine congregations until about five weeks before we needed to be ready.  Thankfully, all parties adapted—if a bit clumsily, but certainly with a desire to work towards a finished goal.  We’re to perform tomorrow, hopefully it will go well!

These things have certainly made my Christmas season more stressful, despite the fact that I have done my best to get all my gifting and card delivering done early in the season.  The advantage to having a big family is, and always will be, that you are never far from informed about how much work you must do and can therefore plan accordingly.  With quite enough planning and more than enough preparation, I was able to get all my presents and cards made, wrapped, and sent to the various continents (yes, continents) and cities of the world in which my loving family live.  But, as ever, the home front is where things get messy.

I think this is what was making it so hard, as mentioned on Thursday, to feel the season.  I’ve worked so much to make Christmas, I forgot to take the rest for myself required to feel the spirit of the season and let Christ in.  Thankfully, the Christmas miracle of Thursday opened doors I hadn’t realized I had closed and led the way to the missing Christmas spirit.  But it wasn’t just that: later that night, Mikki and I had scheduled Roommate Christmas and we took the evening to relax.  We pulled out sparking juice, Christmas music, and dinner then talked for I think a good hour and a half.  I haven’t had such a relaxed Christmas in I don’t know when.  The happy chaos of my family is a heart-warming event and I wouldn’t change it for the world, but I loved this new kind of Christmas and hope I’ll find a way to include it in my life in the future years.

The peaceful atmosphere of being among loved ones, with the music and food we both love, was restorative.  My heart had been opened to the Christmas season by the appearance of a seemingly small, but ultimately HUGE miracle, and then my roommate helped me really feel it through a calm evening.

Then, just when I thought I had caught on, my body once again made me stop and consider.  My roommate and I took the morning to chat and laugh and watch a movie I had been raving about since seeing it a couple weeks ago.  I took the time to rest, both body and mind.  And now, after all the stresses of the season, I feel that calm that took over our tiny little apartment on Thursday in my heart.  Whatever happens tomorrow, we’ve done our best to bring the light and music of Christmas to all.

And then, at the end of the evening, I’ll take my pack to my parents’ place and spend Christmas weekend with my family.  I’ll feel the love and joyful chaos of a family Christmas, and get a letter from Elder Moose—which is almost as good as having him here in person.  I’ll rest, knowing that there is room for Christ in a peaceful heart.