Years ago on a bench in the front foyer of our home set a little evergreen tree with its trunk nestled in a burlap bag. It had tiny white lights and was covered in fragile small birds made of mushrooms. I kept that little tree lit year round to remind me to always keep the spirit of Christmas in my heart. I’m not sure what happened to that little tree, but I wish I still had it today.
I have to admit that I was unable to fully capture the spirit of Christmas this year. It wasn’t a bad Christmas by any means; in fact there were several high notes. There was the usual outpouring of greetings from family and friends; there were the well thought out and meaningful gifts; there was the carrying on of family traditions with a few minor changes here and there; there was the holiday workplace merriment. The biggest letdown I suppose was the realization that once again I didn’t win Oprah’s 12-Days of Christmas Give-O-Way. Yep, her people never called me. Oh well, there’s always next year and I’m sure the prizes will be bigger and better than ever before!
Every year I look forward to “savoring” the Christmas moments which for me is the space in time between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. I don’t feel like I did much savoring this year. I finally got around to watching two of my favorite holiday movies yesterday; the day after Christmas. Every year as the season rolls around, I envision myself “stopping to smell the greenery”. By that I mean spending more time in front of the Christmas tree with a steamy cup of cocoa while watching holiday movies or reading my favorite devotions. It means “leisurely” wrapping gifts, “stress free” shopping, finishing my decorating early, enjoying the local holiday attractions, spending quality time with family and friends. Unfortunately crunch time always arrives and I realize that once again I haven’t achieved my annual goal. It seems like I blink and before I know it, the holidays are over and done with. Maybe the sign that I received from my Secret Santa says it all; “I’m a porch swing girl in a hurry-up world”.
Christmas in general also felt a little different to me this year and there are several reasons why. It was largely due to the unseasonal weather but of course I’m thankful now for what we didn’t have in the way of tornadoes, flooding, etc. I was disappointed in The Grinches who stole Christmas decorations and packages from the yards and porches of others including my home church. At least that one was returned; it even had a new ornament attached when it reappeared! As Christians we choose to believe that someone in need just borrowed it for a couple of days and then brought it back. One of my co-workers lost her mom on December 23rd which was sad and my own mom made an unexpected visit to the hospital prior to our Christmas Eve family gathering. She appears to be fine now but the not knowing dampened everyone’s holiday spirit for a while. I’ve been a lot more active on social media this year which has put me in touch with the lives of others, many of whom I’ve known for a long time. I’ve enjoyed seeing their posts about happy times but there have been some sad times shared also. As I scroll through my modest list of Facebook friends, I can still recall events that happened in their lives around this time of year. Once again I am reminded that it’s not “raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens” for everyone.
As I get older I tend to be a little more sentimental and melancholy but I don’t believe that’s necessarily a bad thing. I’m reminded of one of my favorite children’s books, The Velveteen Rabbit, which is a story about love and being real. Loving and caring for others can hurt at times but love is what the Christmas season is really all about. Happy post Christmas everyone! I hope that the spirit was able to catch up with you this year or vice versa.