I don't know about you, but I don't always feel the same way about the holiday season each year. There are some people who are decorating for Christmas on November 1 every year and pumping that Mariah Carey with enthusiasm and that's sometimes all you see. I'm writing this post for those of us who are a bit slower to get into the holiday season and to affirm that that's okay. I remember one year being ready to cue up those Christmas playlists right on November 1 but particularly over the past couple of years, the lead up to Christmas day was more filled with anxiety rather than anticipation. What could we get excited for and what would we be missing out on?
This year, all seems to be "normal" but I don't quite feel ready for Christmas yet. However I have found there have been small little things that have tweaked that excitement - I booked our time to see Santa at the mall, I got my first Starbucks holiday mug on the day they were released, we made reservations for breakfast with Santa at the golf club, and after I write this I'm going to send out the invitation for our annual Christmas party. Each one a step towards the actual "big day".
Then at church today our minister spoke about a near death experience he had where he had flatlined briefly. Whenever he had told the story since, everyone always wanted to know if he saw the light when he had "died", and he was sort of disappointed to say no, he only remembers darkness. I mean, aren't we all looking towards the light of heaven at the end of our lives?! But, what he does remember is that in that time between his heartbeat returning and going to the ICU, his wife said to him "You'd better pull through this because there is a good chance there are three of us here and we will need you to stick around". He said that although he didn't see a light when his heart stopped beating, the light was right there in that room when his wife told him she thought she was pregnant. And he continued to say that the light and love of God is happening around us all the time. So we can wait for the end light of heaven or we can notice and enjoy the light around us everyday.
Is that not the perfect analogy for my thoughts on Christmas this year? Sometimes we get so pulled into the big day, when really it's only 24 hours on the calendar. The Christmas season is much longer than that and doing things like booking Santa or hearing the first Christmas carol are all fine on their own. So maybe you're not into putting up your tree now or blaring that holiday music, or maybe you are, but whatever works for you, I hope you feel that light as we go forward into the season.