I was feeling very guilty about our two-year-old Jesse Tree tradition that I was letting slide. Several years ago, a friend showed us how to decorate and make shrinky dink Jesse tree ornaments. For every day in Advent, there was a short scripture reading associated with each ornament. We would read it, talk about it, and one of the kids get to put the ornament on our Jesse tree near our dining room table. It was a great for family bonding and creating rich Catholic memories.
I don’t know how the time got away from me this year.
I was still feeling flat and tried to analyze my lack of Christmas luster. There was the lost sheep in the extended family that everyone was worrying about. My hubby had hired his first associate several months before. Money was very tight and he told me to put the brakes on spending until further notice. Like I mentioned before, I had lots of work projects and had felt distracted. I did not like the disconnected feeling I had with the kids.
As I rambled on with this line of thinking, I started to get into a full blown pity party in my head. The irony is that there have been Christmases where I could have legitimately qualified for a pity party; this was definitely not one of them. The things I had to be grateful for were 10 times more than the complaints I might have. I started to feel some discouragement.
Fortunately, I quickly snapped out of it.
I remembered a meditation I once read that one of Satan’s most effective tools with us is the use of discouragement. I felt like Satan was playing with me a bit. I was starting to feel discouraged over fabricated and exaggerated problems. When I thought about writing this blog, I even felt embarrassed by my pathetic whining.
That night at dinner I pulled out the Jesse tree ornaments and we went through five of them at once with a plan to get through them by Christmas. The whole family enjoyed it. I could tell the kids felt like we were back on track.
I wasn’t feeling discouraged at all. It was just a little well-deserved Catholic guilt giving me the discomfort I need to get my rear in gear and start fulfilling my vocation in the way that I should.
After getting back on the wagon with the Jesse tree, the Christmas doldrums completely went away.
Catholic Women’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Tip: If you are feeling flat
or down, check if some healthy Catholic guilt might be behind it and take
some needed action.