Christmas cracks open the tiny windows of our hearts to the tender goodness of Light and Love.
Today the news brings word of doom and division. The state of the union is stressful and much of the world is living in survival mode. Fear and famine. Forced separateness and fatigue. Friends and families living with loss. Low levels of anxiety and depression pervade our homes and workplaces. The winter of our soul is a dark, heavy blanket. We search for a glimmer, a glow, a guide.
In many homes Christmas is full of anticipation. There are shelves of elves and days are counted by clever antics and whispers back to the North Pole. An expectancy builds day after day throughout December as children wait for gifts from St. Nick.
For others, Christmas is a season of slowness. It is a break from the mundane. It is different decorations and delicacies that are only enjoyed once a year.
We change the fragrances of our home. We fill our houses with cider and cinnamon, fresh pine and balsam.
We watch different movies, we pause from the current binge to re-watch the classics. We allow our heart to thaw and grow three sizes.
We listen to songs about frosty, drummer boys and holy nights.
We feel nostalgic and remember Christmases of long long ago.
We light candles. So many candles.
We feel rushed. We shop in stores and online. We write letters. We attend parties. We bake, we cook, we clean and we try to accomplish more in a few weeks then we normally would in a few months. Christmas is exhausting.
We try to make impossibly perfect memories for the little ones that care less about the paper and bows and simply want to be wrapped in our arms.
We see family and faces we don’t regularly see. Sometimes this provides elation and pure joy and other times it is painful and we drink too much to power through.
Giving is where things get really good at Christmas. We become mindful of those around us. We think of our loved ones and we wonder what would spark joy? We buy it or make it, wrap it and put it under the tree. We think of strangers or those who might benefit from a little brighter Christmas. We do candy cane bombs in parking lots. We donate coats, food and toys. We sing carols at nursing homes and we dance for Smiles. At Christmastime we seem to see others with more compassion. Oh that it might be Christmas year around.
We discuss and ponder why it is that Christmas seems to start earlier and earlier each year? Could it be that we need a little Christmas, right this very minute…that we need a little Christmas now?
Even during the spooky season we begin to play songs with bells, twinkle lights go up and Hallmark Christmas movies are streaming on repeat. Why? What is it about this time of year that we love and long for? I understand the resistance and those who powerfully protect the pumpkins and pilgrams; respecting the holiday where we pause to be thankful. But what is it? Why do we want more Christmas? And sooner rather than later? Could it be because our hearts soften just a little more during this season?
We linger while looking at the lights. We attend services with lessons and carols, where children read stories of sheep and shepherds visited by angels. We hear about the proclamation of a baby being born given the name, Immanuel, which means, “God with us.”
Could that be the draw toward this season? Toward the songs and lights? Toward the expectancy and generosity? Could it be the promise of Hope that comes from the news that our Creator, our Wonderful Counselor is with us?
I am grateful for the tenderness and thrill of hope I feel in my heart each advent season. I don’t know what place Christmas holds in your heart–but for me I think this season is especially important because it softens me. It slows me. It changes the scenery enough to welcome the whisper of Immanuel…God with us.
“This is the great mystery of Christmas that continues to give us comfort and consolation: we are not alone on our journey.”
Much Love and Merry Christmas,