This week I have doubled down on getting into my Christmas jollies. Our real tree is now lending its woodsy scent to my Floridian living room, shimmering as the lights reflect off the tinsel and colorful ornaments. My counter is home to holiday cookie cutters waiting to be used, the fridge is starting to fill up with special ingredients for seasonal treats, and brightly packaged surprises are gently laying on the handmade tree skirt under our tree. People’s outfits have gotten more thematic, there’s only one Pandora station I want to hear, and all those family favorite movies are coming out of their dusty jackets for a spin around the DVD player. Christmas is coming, BRING ON THE MAGIC!
This year I’ve been able to hear more about holiday celebrations of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, and their vibrant histories. Shouted greetings of “Happy Holidays” are more impactful now that I understand more about their significance to the cultures that celebrate them. Miraculous light, the importance of culture and faith, and the celebration of principles that truly are the best thoughts and practices. These join with miraculous birth and the plan of the Almighty through the ages as the basis of this “holiday season”.
With all of this richness it’s almost hard to imagine failing to tune into it, letting this most wonderful time of the year pass us by. Unfortunately with expectations and demands, tight budgets and busy schedules, enjoying the simple joys of the season can be pretty challenging. This week I want to encourage you to take the time make the time, to be in wonder, to marvel, to be entranced, surprised, delighted.
Enjoy being with your friends, your family, your neighbors, even strangers. Share with them, share ideas, stories, well wishes.
Savor the coziness, whether that’s cuddled under a blanket by the fire, or under a fan with the AC on. Find the feeling of having all that you need, being full and loved and at peace.
Share the perfect silly/practical/frivolous/adorable thing that you found for someone else. Embrace the intimacy that comes from seeing the world through the eyes of our loved ones long enough to buy or make something we think they’ll like.
Dwell in the feeling of excitement you get when you use the special plates, drink Grandma’s special cocoa from the festive Christmas mugs, and eat your once a year cookies.
Let yourself be giddy as you anticipate opening your own gifts. Don’t try to stifle the giggles or dim the lights shining from your eyes as you rip into a new set of pens, hand knit sweater in your favorite colors, membership to your favorite magazine, or greeting card from your best friend.
Make crafts and bake goodies and talk about real things. Let people know that you love them. Watch cheesy movies, so your best Mariah Carey impression, wear the green glitter eye shadow, and the tall red heels (then immediately put on your best holiday pajamas;).
May your lamps always be filled with oil. May your life and community be a shining example of unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. And may the prophesied birth of a refugee baby remind you of a man who wanted nothing more than for us to love our Creator, and love one another.