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Wednesday, November 30, 2011


There was a time in my life, a well-ordered-I’m-in-control time in my life, that my
Christmas presents were wrapped and neatly stowed in hiding by December first. I believed that by being well-prepared, I took away a great deal of the pressure that detracts from the holiday spirit. Rather than shopping on the weekends preceding Christmas, I could make cookies with the children, write out greeting cards, go for long walks or do other activities that gave me pleasure. However, I have not been able to observe that practice for six years. I can be certain that it is SIX years, because tomorrow will be the sixth anniversary of our move into our house.
In the intervening six years, the months leading up to December 1st have, without exception, been a roller coaster ride into chaos. The careful lists and neatly packed ornaments and decorations, - in other words, the habits and the traditions of a lifetime - have been cast aside to make room for more pressing matters. The Advent Calendar that features little doors that open daily between December 1st and December 25th was discovered one year, in a box on December 23rd - when we were trying to get ornaments on a tree that we had bought that afternoon. The practice of hanging the kissing ball from the front foyer light was overlooked for three out of the past five years. For two years, I created a makeshift rendition. The 18 inch carolers that have graced the top of the waterbench since my son was born seventeen years ago, didn’t find their way to light in the recent past. Last year, I found them, sans music. I cut miniature sheets of music from my piano assignment book and carefully placed the sheet music into their tiny, outstretched hands. And the lights, which, to me are so central to the season, have most often been quickly placed at strategic places, without the artistic glory and effort the lights once evoked.
I have seen the consequences of people making New Year’s resolutions without a clear intention and plan to keep them. I will not make that mistake about the coming holiday season. I will not chastise myself for the aspects of the season that, for reasons of sanity and health, I let go. I will not promise that this will be the BEST year ever. I will do my best to observe the traditions our family has come to observe over time. Tomorrow will be the first of December. Despite my history of having my shopping mostly completed by this date, I have made a start on my gift-giving selections. Some gifts have even been wrapped. However, there are, to date, no decorations hung to lend the house a festive feeling. The reason I am at peace with this deviation from the norm was captured in small, white light bulbs on the outside wall of a local gift and garden center. The bulbs must remain plugged in throughout the season, because the words spelled out by the lights seem to emerge as daylight gives way to dusk. The season, about all else is about one thing for me.
....the Light cometh!

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