As the shopping days wind down, and the baking gets turned up I am constantly reminded of what this holiday is all about.

We are spending the holiday with family, as we do every year.  And every year, there is some sort of dramatic scene that takes place.  What I have found is that my family isn’t the only family that experiences this sort of holiday.  One of my favorite movies is the wildly popular National Lampoons Christmas Vacation.  This movie does a wonderful job of displaying the hilarity of the typical American family during the holidays.  And while I can quote the entire movie, and I laugh along every time, the fact that these things have become the norm is sad.

So, at the start of this season, I refused.  I refused to get caught up in the drama.  I refused to hold grudges, or stress out about who was going where, and when.  I refused to cram my schedule full of Christmas parties with people that I only have contact with once a year.

I focused on our family.  I had fun saving as much as I could as I bargin shopped for gifts and really took the time to think about what was needed and wanted, versus just trying to fill the empty space under the tree.  I did not try to make everyone’s gifts stay within a set dollar amount.  I spent different amounts on everyone.  Because their gifts had nothing to do with the monetary value and more to do with the thought I put into them.  Some of the gifts are completely home made.  Some of them were ordered months in advance and I have successfully kept them a secret for all of this time!

A couple of days ago, we were essentially uninvited to a celebration at my dad’s house by my step mother.  At the time, it stung.  More because I thought of Monkey, and how not seeing her grandfather and cousins might take away from her holiday joy.

But then I started thinking about when Jesus was born and the way Mary must have felt.  She was so young, and I am sure, so scared.  She had just delivered a baby in an area where animals were kept (now portrayed as a stable).  And even though the details aren’t provided with perfect clarity, one thing I am sure of:  She was now a mother, and a mothers love is instant and everlasting.

Mary had faith that our father in heaven was protecting her son.  She knew He would love her son unconditionally, and He had a plan that was bigger than anything she could imagine.  Because of this faith, she was able to let her son go through things that were not easy.  She even watched as he was battered, beaten, and hung on a cross to die.

As much as I want to scream and yell, and let my step mother know what I really think of her, and the fact that my daughter deserves to be treated better, I have faith that this holiday season He has a better plan for me and our family.  I have faith that He wants me to honor my fathers relationship, no matter how hard it is for me to accept that he turns a blind eye to her actions. He wants me to have faith in His plan.

So, I am rolling with the punches.  I called my dad and he’s going to come by and hang out with Monkey one night this week.  I made the conscious choice to avoid the drama.  I am not going to let someone that I don’t even really know,  effect my family or our holiday.  And after all,  ’tis the season to be merry Mary.