It seems as though the Christmas season begins earlier every year. Maybe it's just me getting older and time seems to pass so quickly now, but as soon as Halloween ends, the Christmas ornaments come rolling out at all the stores, advertisements and movies about Christmas begin on TV, and companies begin expounding on their Christmas present ads. Sometimes it feels overwhelming.
Most people are out there rummaging the stores for bargains and racking their brains trying to think of thoughtful gifts for everyone on their lists. Believe me, it's not possible to give the perfect gift to every single person on that list.The battle for parking places begins and, on the evening news, the accounts of thieves and muggers escalates. It's dangerous out there. And what about the cost? Many of us are struggling to keep afloat on any given day, let alone attempting to buy something for everyone we know. There is also the inevitable guilt about not being able to afford gifts for everyone.
What about Christmas cards? You try to remember to send them out to all your friends and family, but you already know, you'll forget someone. We all hate it when we feel we've hurt someone by not getting that card to them.
All the magazines and advertisements on TV have beautifully decorated houses and rooms. Some are overdone or garish, to be sure, but many are just right. We try to make our homes like those images we see. It takes energy, money, and time to decorate. No one wants to have the dark house on the block.
And then there's the cooking. We prepare food as gifts. We makes several different kinds of cookies and decorate them, usually the children assist us as best they can. Then there are the cakes and pies and candies to make. Just as we are about to explode with the sugar rush, it's time to prepare that huge Christmas feast--and didn't we just have that big Thanksgiving feast last month? So here we go again, in the frenzy to have all those good eats on the table to celebrate the day.
Now mind you, all these frantic activities are things we enjoy doing to make our families happy and create joyful memories for them, but it's exhausting.
So now we've come to the end of the big celebrations. There are two weeks between Christmas and the New Year when we start the coming year with a clean slate and normalcy returns. This is the time of the Deep Breath. This is when we reflect on the year about to pass, the things we hope to change. This is our quiet time, our time to meditate, to stop talking and just listen to God. We need to rest and regain our strength and perspective.
And so I wish for all of you to take that Deep Breath, come to peace with the year passing away, and fill yourselves with hope for the year about to begin.
Joy, Health, and Peace to you in the New Year.