It’s 3.20 a.m. here in Manila, and it’s the Third Day of Christmas. I woke up earlier because I felt like I was going to throw up (yes, I felt the urge while I was sleeping; no, I didn’t throw up and no, I’m not pregnant! #justsaying). I couldn’t get back to sleep so I prayed the Divine Mercy Prayer, which is usually prayed at 3 p.m. I wonder what the Holy Family was doing at this time, 2017 years ago. What Mama Mary must have been feeling. Did she have the “Christmas feels” as we like to call our feelings during this time of the year? Feelings of joy, comfort, peace, hope? Or did she have mixed feelings and emotions?
Reflecting on all this, and knowing that I “should” have the “Christmas feels” but the truth is Christmas doesn’t feel like Christmas too much right now, I take comfort in the “imperfect,” “not Pinterest-worthy” Instagram posts of fellow Catholic moms like Haley of Carrots for Michaelmas, Jen Fulwiler, and Kristin of One Hail Mary at a Time.
I know how challenging these busy but beautiful holy-days can be… so I’m sharing this photo of the altar in our bedroom as a “sign” of camaraderie and unity – yes, we still haven’t changed our altar cloth (purple is for Advent – maybe we’ll just keep it on till Lent?! Ha, ha!) and the only reason our nativity set pieces are where they’re supposed to be is because the 8-year-old placed them there.
As I write this, there is a huge pile of clothes in our living/dining area that need to be packed for an upcoming trip to visit extended family. There are more clothes in laundry baskets and drying on clotheslines to be folded, and more to be washed (praying the weather will cooperate so the laundry will dry faster!).
My husband and I’s hopes of doing some much-needed decluttering and deep cleaning during the holidays won’t be happening because of the previously mentioned trip. Which means the New Year will come and the apartment will still be in the (sorry) state it’s in now.
There is work to be done. (No vacation leave for work-at-home-and-everywhere-else moms like me! Ha, ha!) This blog is in a state of neglect. There are homeschooling-related tasks that need to be done as well. Etcetera, etcetera.
Well, you can probably see what I’m getting at now. I could go on and on “whining” but I won’t. Because, despite everything, there is SO much to be grateful for.
There are thousands, even millions, of people here in the Philippines and around the world who would probably trade places with me in an instant. Typhoon victims. Fire victims. Victims of armed conflict. So many people who are suffering, so many people in pain, so many who have lost their lives even.
Closer to home, I have friends and family members whose Christmases will never be the same because they have lost loved ones or have loved ones who are seriously ill.
All of these make my complaints seem so shallow now. So selfish. I have so much to be thankful for. Many days though, I fail to see them. I am too tired. Too preoccupied. Too focused on the “have nots” and “shoulds” and endless “to-do’s.”
So, yet again, I choose. I choose to be grateful.
Thank You, Jesus, for being the Gift you are to me, to my family, to all of us.
Thank You for the blessings *and* the burdens of this life — reminders that this world is not our Home.
Thank You for being born so that You could die and rise again… just for us.
Thank You for always being there for us… even when Christmas doesn’t feel like Christmas at times.
I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again:
Happy Birthday, Jesus! We love You!
How’s the Christmas season going for you so far, friend? Whatever you’re feeling now, I pray that God gives you the comfort, joy, peace, and hope that you need! God bless you!