Amy Grant’s smoky-toned version of the classic song “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” streams through the speaker. The room is lit by the twinkly white lights strung across our Christmas tree. There is, indeed, a “star upon the highest bough.”
I’m tired – from a long day of parenting and from 21 months of heaviness. In that moment of unwinding, I pay fresh attention to the lyrics “let your heart be light.” The words seem to relax my harried holiday spirit and soothe my weary soul.
We all need this.
After said tumultuous year and a half, the holiday pressure made an early debut this year.
Before the Halloween candy disappeared and the jack-o-lanterns caved in, rumors of Christmas gift shortages and delayed shipping ran rampant through social media and news channels. Black Friday deals were everywhere. Remember in the “olden” days when Black Friday was a single day?
The news felt part true and part fabricated frenzy, but given that I had a few specific gifts in mind, I couldn’t take a chance. I’ve already spent more time than I’d like to admit choosing a color for my kids’ new play couch.
Then the holiday invites started flowing in, and I found myself scrambling to cordon off days on the calendar for us to just “be.” I used to love having back-to-back events through December. Bring on the ugly Christmas sweater parties, ornament exchanges, and festive performances.
But two kids and a new life stage later, I feel a heart shift.
It’s time to tug on the reins a little and unschedule. To make space for joy-filled lightness amid the heavy holiday pressures.
I don’t want to sound trite. I know there is loss and heartache and sickness and busyness wrapped into this season. But can we make space in our circumstances, even if just for a moment, to breathe?
This isn’t another to-do list item. This is a chance to “let” – to allow, to make way for – joyful contentment. We can find moments to just be light.
To appreciate things around us that are beautiful simply because they are beautiful, not because they have a function or make our lives easier. To open our eyes to the lightness of falling snow.
To make space for gratitude. To make space for silence.
To linger awhile watching our precious babes do something they love. To sit down next to a friend or family member, ask questions, and actually listen to their story.
I hope you and I can both find moments to let go this season and let in that lightness of heart.