I can’t seem to “do” Christmas this year. As I sit here less than two weeks away from December 25, and time as well as the light of day grows short, I know that I have purchased 4 stocking stuffers. Period. No Christmas tree. No presents. No cards. Only the twinkling lights on my Ficus tree (a year round tribute to the dark Seattle nights) show any sign of festive spirit.
The odd thing is that I am excited about the holiday season and what it truly represents. I am not, however, excited about the commercial pressures and expectations of what the season “should” look like. Each year I have felt myself pull away a bit more from the hubbub and must do’s of the season. I find myself more enlivened by purchasing a simple unexpected gift rather than one given out of obligation, or taking a walk in the winter rain and seeing God’s splendor all around, and best of all, spending time with a friend I have not visited in awhile.
Maybe the change in focus has something to do with my children getting older. The 17 year old seems quite indifferent about the season and the younger one is caught between a mixture of “I don’t care” and wondering with anticipation when we are getting a Christmas tree and what we’re doing for the holiday. Gone are the school holiday pageants of days past. Our annual trip to see Santa faded out a couple of years ago and our celebratory relatives and friends seem to have gone their own ways. I have more time to think about what Christmas means to me.
I have made several attempts to get into the "normal" holiday spirit. I have perused Christmas cards for purchase and listened to a few carols. I considered shopping yesterday, but opted for a holiday movie instead. Today, I saw a little Charlie Brown tree and actually turned the car around to go see about bringing it home, but alas my cell phone rang and one of my teenagers was in need of immediate attention.
Maybe these interruptions are telling me something. Slow down. Take in the season. Enjoy the music. Smile at the neighbors’ lights. Do your own thing.
Or just maybe, I am already “doing” Christmas exactly as I want to do it—savoring the darkness and anticipating the “coming”.
For now I think I’ll just call things good, sip my tea from a holiday mug, put on a Christmas CD and enjoy waiting here in the dark. Waiting with anticipation for what may come next.