I’ve been reading a lot about Advent lately. It makes sense; we are smack dab in the middle of this season. A season of “expectant waiting.” Did you know that’s what advent is about? I didn’t. Not until I read blog after blog from people who are celebrating this season, who are expectantly waiting for the coming of Christ.
I do not feel like I am celebrating this season. The only thing I am waiting for is for it to be over. That is how I feel about Christmas this year.
I decided long ago that I was going to simplify this year to avoid some of the holiday craziness, so that I could celebrate the season. I decided to not do any Christmas shopping…until I realized that didn’t meet other people’s expectations. I decided not to participate in holiday parties or cookie exchanges…until I realized that is frowned upon, especially when they need your 32 cookies to make the math of the whole thing work.
So here I am, starting my shopping 10 days before Christmas, wrapping white elephant gifts, and going to parties I don’t want to attend. I am trying to figure out when I will have time to bake, when I barely even have time to sleep.
And in the midst of it all, I am constantly being reminded to “slow down and enjoy the true meaning of the season.” I’m being asked how I plan to “hand down Christmas” to those around me. If I’m honest, I want to crawl into bed and sleep until December 26. At this point, that seems like the only possible way to slow down and enjoy the season.
involving or creating favorable circumstances that increase the chances of success or effectiveness; beneficial.
I’m trying. I’ve been listening to Christmas music every chance I get. I helped to decorate the house. I even wore my elf costume, for crying out loud. But none of it has increased my chances of having a “successful” Christmas.
I was questioned about my scrooge-ness this week. After some discussion, I’ve begun to wonder if maybe I’ve put too high of expectations on Christmas? Much like how I was always disappointed on my birthday, because I thought everyone else had magical days every year, while mine always sucked because it was on a holiday. Maybe everyone else is just as fed up with Christmas…or maybe at the very least, they don’t have a twinkle in their eye and cheer in every step, like the movies have led me to believe.
Maybe my reaction to the consumerism and the busyness that I so loathe is my celebration of the season: My expectant waiting for the second coming of Christ. Maybe there is a better way of handling it all. A friend pointed out how hard it is for people in our stage of life during this time of year- we are no longer children, participating in the traditions of our youth, but we don’t yet have our own families or established traditions. Maybe it’s time to establish some of my own traditions. Maybe it’s time to say no to the unfulfilling demands so that I can tend to the things that matter.
At church this week I was reminded that the coming of Christ isn’t something that should be relegated to a once a year celebration. It should impact how we live our lives every day. Maybe I had it right all along. Maybe responding to texts at 11:30pm when I would rather be sleeping is what advent is all about. Maybe it’s about giving up my lunch break to visit with a friend in need, so she knows how much she is loved. Maybe the proper way to celebrate advent is to build community by inviting people over for supper every Thursday, regardless of how much you are longing for Friday to come. Maybe I am more aware of the coming of Christ than I realize, and all of the holiday reminders that others use to help them slow down this time of year are actually causing me more trouble than they are worth. Maybe the solution is to say “no” to the fluff. Maybe I need to go back to my simplified plan for Christmas after all.
How is everyone else handling this season? Any suggestions for a struggling scrooge like myself? Any traditions you’d like to share?