Here in the States, it is the evening before Thanksgiving. People from sea to shining sea are baking and cooking up a storm in preparation for tomorrow’s feasts—and I dare say (after a minor fluttering about whether or not I was preparing enough dishes to our own) people are gearing up for the month of what can only be termed “holiday insanity” that kicks into high gear.
My temporary self-doubt reminded me of the realization that struck me earlier this month: I was dreading the coming of the Christmas season because of what it has become, and that alone told me I was myself missing the point of it—and due to my health, my levels of holiday-related activity are forced to be lower than most people’s. If I was already fighting anxiousness, how does everyone else feel?
There are countless anti-Christmas madness screeds out there, and my adding to them is unnecessary. I simply want to remind you that this is supposed to be a season of joy, not panic, not overspending, not hyper-scheduled madness. It can be difficult to resist the tide, but if there’s no time, no moment of peace to reflect upon what we are celebrating, there’s no point to it at all—it’s emptiness. Our traditions and rituals are worthless and meaningless if we’ve not contemplated the reason for our celebrating the holiday, and that’s true whether or not you are a Christian, because for many, much of the enjoyment of Christmas comes from warm memories; thus we’ve all something to celebrate this time of year.
Friday, as I do every “Black Friday”, I’ll be contentedly staying in to begin dressing the house for Christmas, the Rat Pack playing in the background and the pets undoubtedly doing their best to ‘help’. This is the first of several family Christmas traditions (albeit with a twist, because I don’t think the Rat Pack ever played in my childhood home!) I make sure to continue yearly. Such traditions are a sort of anchor against the insanity advertisers and even family and friends do their best into coaxing us into, giving us time to think and truly enjoy the season.
I hope this is not presumptuous of me, but I encourage you to do the same: Intentionally carve out time during the next few weeks, if you haven’t already, to simply enjoy yourself, to ponder the meaning of this season, perhaps to go through your old photo albums (physical, digital, or mental). Life is so brief, really, and none of us know how many Christmases we and those we love have left to us—and it is such a precious, beautiful season—it should be truly enjoyed to the absolute hilt, not rushing by in a frustrating blur.
Thanks for reading, travel safely if you’re on the road or in the air, and a happy Thanksgiving to my American readers. God bless!