It’s 16 days until Christmas and this year is the same as other years when I wake in the morning with a list of things to do and I regret that they aren’t already done. A global pandemic can’t erase what my mind and body do every year at this time. I need to bake, wrap, gift, repeat. However, this year, there will definitely be some differences. For example, I won’t be in a room full of presents, people, and holiday cheer watching great-nieces and nephews open presents. I won’t be passing out little favors to the 15 people at Bible Study. I won’t be swapping cookie recipes around the table at book club. So, though the thoughts are the same, the actions have to be different. How can I do it differently this year?
This year I recognize that it is not all preparing and then a crescendo to a big event on Christmas day. This year of all years is the time to celebrate Christmas as it happens. When we used to bake to share with a cookie exchange, the actual cookie exchange was the event…this year, the baking is. Don’t forget to enjoy it! Don’t forget that baking is a part of the celebration. We used to shop and wrap and give to see the receiver’s joy. This year while shopping (if you are still able to do it in person) stop a moment and recognize that this year…shopping is a gift! Shopping is part of the celebration. We don’t have to wait until Christmas Day to give a gift. Give it now. Sing carols now. Shop now. Bake now. Visit (safely) now. Celebrate now.
My daughter and son-in-law came for a visit last weekend. (The mitigations we put in place are fodder for another blog post!) But, they decided to travel home for Christmas early in case things with the pandemic and/or their jobs got worse…not to mention whether their health or our health might prevent them from a visit later. So, they traveled home for Christmas on December 6th. And, Christmas it was. We celebrated by eating Chex Mix, making paper snowflakes, playing games, drinking Christmas tea, making chocolates and we even gave a couple of gifts. We were together and it was Christmas. I don’t know if that is the only Christmas we will celebrate with the newlyweds, but it was a good one. Don’t wait. See everything that you are doing now as celebrating Christmas. We can celebrate Christmas and Jesus’s birth no matter what the date on the calendar is and we should. Don’t wait to and hold in all the joy until Christmas morning….spread it around…and do it now!
Somehow, not only for Christmas , but all the long year through, the joy that you give to others, is the joy that comes back to you. And the more you spend in blessing, the poor and lonely and sad, the more of your heart’s possessing, returns to you glad. — John Greenleaf Whittier