I love Christmas and all the traditions and festivities of this season. I adore driving around at night looking at houses decked out in Christmas lights. I am a baking fiend who delights in churning out dozens of our favorite Christmas cookies and breads, and packaging some of them up for friends and neighbors. A big, beautiful Christmas tree covered with the same ornaments year after year gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling, and an evergreen wreath tied with a big red bow hanging on the door says "welcome". Christmas music playing on the stereo - whether the Mormon Tabernacle Choir or Andy Williams or Amy Grant or Manheim Steamroller - is simply heavenly. We have lived in Massachusetts, Georgia, south Florida, Minnesota, and North Carolina - so we have had deep snow, warm sunshine and just about everything in between on Christmas, and it is all good. The presents actually take a back seat to my other favorite parts of the Christmas season - I do not like shopping and it is a bit stressful to try to squeeze extra dollars out of an already strained budget. But it IS nice when people think to get something special just for you, and likewise I love to choose special gifts for the people I love.
For some reason Christmas feels strange this year. I have had a hard time getting excited, and I don't really know why. We have no tree this year, no Christmas lights on the house, no wreath on the door, and I've only made 2 batches of cookies. There are several reasons... money, my husband's sore back, a lot of basketball games, not as many helpers... I guess it's not a terrible thing to simplify.I do have a pretty red tablecloth on the dining room table, and a beautiful Poinsettia plant and nativity set on my coffee table, and holiday pillows on the sofa. I have a small pile of wrapped packages in my bedroom. This has been an emotional year for me, and there have been a lot of changes... and there are surely many more to come! Disappointment has been a frequent companion.
I need to find my joy, which I KNOW does not lie in the decorations or the traditions of the holiday. Nor does it lie in the external circumstances of my life, nor in the actions or attitudes of people around me, nor in my successes or failures. I have six days ... six days to fall to my knees and adore the Christ child in the manger, and let the wonder and eternal impact of that simple event flood my heart and rock my world. And then it truly will be a blessed Christmas.