Elizabeth Willis Barrett…………December 9, 2014
Well, it happened again. Christmas arrived before I did with it’s carols and lights and trees and store hype while I am still back in flags and fireworks and patriotism. Christmas just seems to be on a faster track than I am. I need time to allow the great Spirit of Christmas to seep in slowly so I can adjust and clear my head of incidentals like bill paying and house dejunking and family crises and Church callings. But Christmas doesn’t tip toe in quietly and slowly raise the blinds until you can get used to the light. No, it jerks you awake with a thunderbolt of hoopla which I never seem to be prepared for.
Part of the problem, perhaps the biggest part, is that Thanksgiving came a week late this year. A whole week! There should be a law against that. Why can’t Thanksgiving be on the 3rd Thursday of November, not the fourth? That would help immensely. Then as soon as Thanksgiving is over we could be more attuned to Christmas and its incredible hustle and bustle. Actually, I think we’re all trying to do the H & B all year long and just accelerate the moves in December.
Last year I made a great attempt to be ready spiritually and physically for Christmas, trying to do something every day in its honor. I was inspired by Scrooge’s classic sentence, “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” I sort of petered out by June but I was more ready for the season when it came barreling down the calendar and blasted into December—or rather, October.
But this year I can’t gather the warm blanket of Christmas wishes around me tight enough and I’m rather hanging out of the season’s joy. Here it is December 9th. Many of my neighbors’ lights are twinkling like little Christmas giggles and their trees are triumphant in their showcasing windows. But our house stands in unlit shame and the Christmas tree still needs to be dragged from its year long cardboard entombment across the dry grass of the back yard and into the house that has just been scrubbed clean by the God-sent cleaners.
The many “So, are you all ready for Christmas?” inquiries made by well-meaning OCD individuals, who are just looking for conversation, embellish the problem. They make you feel that if you are haven’t lit, hung, decorated, bought, wrapped, baked, read, visited, photoed, written and sent by the day after Thanksgiving, you might as well not bother.
This is about when my yearly mantra chimes in, “I will just make it through this year’s celebration and do better next year.”
But wait. I can change that. I can fling that sentence out of my head’s storage of useless jabber. The years are thinning out for me and to miss the full joy of even one irretrievable Christmas would be counter to a life well spent. So ready or not, it will not be hard to fill my mind and my soul with these sentences instead. They can bring peace not only to me but to all:
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
What else matters? Merry Christmas!