Even though it is almost summertime, this story still has some powerful meaning. Just imagine yourself into the Christmas season and enjoy…
Yes, I’m with you. I was gritting my teeth each time I walked into a store past halloween candy or scarecrows and ran smack dab into an inflatable Santa. I took my daughter to the mall, and was shocked to see the jolly old elf holding court before November 15th! I was frustrated by the voice mail my friend sent informing me that the Christmas radio station began playing holiday favorites on November 1st. Now for the confessional part of my ranting.
I can’t help but breathe deep and smile when I walk past the netted bags of pinecone potpourri, filling my head with the nutmeggy cinnamony yum scents of Christmas. I’m encouraged when I hear “Emmanuel” playing in a department store. Oh, boy did it move me when I heard the Salvation Army bell ringer for the first time this season. People are more apt to hold the door, smile a bit longer, and linger at the views layed out before them. I have purposefully gotten my collective act together at home, for the first time in years, decluttering on purpose for the preparations that lie ahead.
I will be trimming out my house like the crazy people I fretted about as I drove past at warp speed on previous Black Friday afternoons. There has been a method to my madness as I separate and donate outgrown things, dust long forgotten corners of my house, and think about Christmas cookies. My desire is to create that feeling in my home this year without the stress of rushed light hanging and clocks ticking. I want to spend the holiday baking with my kids, instead of frantic self-induced timelines, placing cookies on racks near midnight. I want to have our extended families spend time together, making cocoa, listening or even singing carols, and just enjoying each other, instead of racing the clock. I want to replace a lot of gifts with the gift of time well spent together. I don’t know how that will be embraced.
Perhaps it is because I turned 40 this year, and I’m realizing how much life I’ve rushed through. Maybe it’s the belt tightening we are all going through right now in this economy. It may simply be a wish for a return to the simpler beauty of Christmas in all of its splendor. As we hurtle toward this Christmastime, I realize how grateful I am for my friends and family, for the opportunity to celebrate my Savior’s birth and instruct my children, and for the wisdom that time does not stand still just because we want it to. I encourage you, dig in and prepare for the holiday ahead so that the precious time will not slip by unenjoyed.
I will be testing the lights in my plastic baby Jesus and putting Him on my lawn with my scripture signs and manger scene. I will play my Charlie Brown Christmas DVD over and over and cry when Linus recites from Luke. I will dutifully collect every page colored from the elementary school holiday celebrations, and put out my scented pinecones, and light my sugar cookie candles. But mostly I will treasure the time my neighbors give to viewing the Jesus scene, the strangers singing carols and smiling longer, and the faces of my family at our candlelight Christmas eve service. Happy Birthday, Jesus. Merry Christmas.