And so it Begins…

Thanksgiving came and went in a blur of family and food and I awoke Friday morning, November 24th, feeling as if I was already somehow behind.  All my noble thoughts of living bound by thanks and practicing what Charles Spurgeon calls “thanks-feeling” were swallowed up in the black hole of Black Friday. My neighbors, most of whom are retired, already had Christmas lights twinkling on their front porches and I’m pretty sure they were wondering, once again, if my house was going to be the only one devoid of any holiday cheer.

I keep trying to explain that all the life is on the inside.

Black Friday bled into Cyber Monday and I spent most of that day deleting emails from random online companies trying to sell me more stuff.  I forced my kids to make Christmas lists, all the time wondering when our lives had become so prosperous that I now have to force my kids to come up with at least something they want.  I’ve done this before, which is why I have a brand new electric guitar that has never been touched and now serves as a painful reminder of how crazy this holiday called Christmas has become.  I’m not sure I’m ready to start again, but it’s coming nonetheless.

In fact,  my 6th grade son said to me early one morning while still in the half-sleep of young boys, “Mom, this year has gone by too fast,” and I wonder when even our children began to feel the rush of days.

And here’s the hard part.  I truly love Christmas.  All of it.  White lights and wise men.  Pretty packages and poinsettias.  Stockings and apple cider.  Familiar carols and family chaos.  I enjoy the Christmas season and all of the memories and traditions that come with it.  I don’t want to skip Christmas.  I just want to slow it down.  I want to savor it.  In fact, I want to memorize what my kids look like in those totally unnecessary Christmas pajamas I’m sure I’ll buy them.

And I want to remember that indeed all the life is on the inside.

I actually did put up my Christmas tree.  I figure if I’m going to go to all the trouble, I want to be able to look at that thing for at least a month before I have to tear it all down.  My favorite ornament is a little wooden manger scene with these words written above it:  “Shhhh… it’s Him!”  As I gird myself and gear up for what is truly one of the most magical, maddening, miraculous times of the year, I want to live in the calming beauty of this truth.  He has come!

“For unto us a Child is born.  And unto us a Son is given.  And the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. ”  Isaiah 9:6