A HUSBAND’S PERSPECTIVE ON THE HOLIDAY SEASON BY JOSH CLEMENTS
It is Christmas Eve and the carolers just left our doorstep. I write this letter while reclining in front of a crackling fire adorned with my winter robe as my feet are tucked into cozy slippers. My warm cup of Crock-Pot hot chocolate sits next to the list of families who will receive a 2016 Christmas card. A plate of chocolate crackles, toffee triangles, snickerdoodles, triple-fudge brownies and white-chocolate peppermint bark is ready for Santa. The lights on the freshly cut tree twinkle. A perfectly shaped bow sits atop the rectangle wrapped in metallic silver teetering on the mound of presents beneath it…
It is actually December 6th and we are in the midst of the “holiday season.” I put quotation marks around this phrase because for many like you, the holidays—Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve—are not holidays but merely days that you plan for. You create lists. You run to the store. You make sure that we will have exactly the same time with your family as we will with mine. You bake cookies. You verify that our Facebook friends aren’t using the same Costco background we are for our Christmas cards. You make sure that the candles you bought at Bath and Body Works and Yankee are lit, filling our home with “Vanilla Bean Noel” or “Sparkling Holiday.” One calendar notification after another pops up as we get closer to “the day.” Your head is spinning.
“MAYBE the Christmas cards will go out on time.”
“Where IS that gift receipt? He wanted the RED one!”
“I MIGHT be able to get my nails done before your parents arrive.”
“I COULD go to the store in order to have two different kinds of tortilla chips.”
“I COULD run to Major Market so we will have black AND green olives at a moment’s notice.”
“I COULD get to Toys R Us to take advantage of the buy one get one 40% off sale, but then dinner will be at 8…again! But…but…but…AGHHHHHHH!”
The aforementioned idyllic vision of a man in front of a fire relaxing at Christmas time has been ingrained in our heads as a metaphoric bar of which to reach. The narration above is closer to the reality of this season.
Take a deep breath. It’s ok. No, yes it is. Look at me: It. Is. Why shouldn’t you feel stressed? I’ll tell you why…
Carolers may or may not arrive at our front door. It doesn’t matter. Your voice whispering “wake up” in the morning warms my heart. Your voice happily humming and singing in the kitchen elevates my soul. Your voice laughing when the mood strikes puts a smile on my face. Your voice exclaiming “Merry Christmas” on December 25th fills me with joy. My wife, your voice gives me peace. It was God’s voice that told me to get down on one knee. Your voice is the one that fills me up.
Hot chocolate, coffee and cookies may or may not be made or baked this year. It doesn’t matter. Comfort to me is cuddling up with you on our couch or holding your hand as we stroll around our neighborhood.
Your hands on my neck for a quick massage say to me, “I’m here.” When you look me in the eyes and say, “I love you,” still makes me feel all giddy inside.
Presents may or may not get wrapped and placed under the tree in time. It doesn’t matter. You don’t need to pick out the perfect gifts. You don’t need to stress about the size of the shirt you’ve picked out. Your presence is what I desire—you by my side. You feel perfect in my arms. You are sweet, you are generous and you bring a light to my life. That is all. A long time ago God picked you out for me. A gift. For me. I feel blessed daily.
We may or may not send out a Christmas card on time—if at all. We may or may not end up at December Nights, a play, a musical or anything else that might “gear us up” for Christmas. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that we plan time to cherish each other. Once the Christmas things become merely tasks to get done: stop. Yes, stop. Find me wherever I am and wrap me in a hug. If I’m at work, shoot me a text saying, “Hey Baby, Merry Christmas.” Then take a deep breath and think about what really matters. Us. Our family. Now.
Baby, this Christmas season, I want you to forget about the “idea of the holidays.” I want you to understand that you are enough: in our home, for our family and in this moment. We have an amazing life together and we will have an incredible Christmas. It will be incredible because you will be in it and we will be together.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh recently celebrated his second year of marriage to his wife Hannah. Together they help raise Adam (14), Gracie (10) and Aidan (8). They will celebrate the one-year anniversary of rescuing Mary and Pippin (their two 11-pound puppies) in February. Josh has been a professional educator for 12 years and is currently working at San Marcos High School where he teaches 9th grade English and is the yearbook advisor. Josh and Hannah own the “little green house on the corner” in historic Escondido. Come on by!