Does anyone else have memories as a child that are more like snapshots in a photo album? Or maybe they’re more like short Vine videos that when you click on them they play in a loop.
I click memories like that a lot at Christmas. Small, random memories that are so mundane and random, but that all mean so much to me. ALL of them have the same emotion: anticipation of the upcoming Christmas festivities.
Oh sure, as a kid it came down to being excited about getting presents. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that. But as I got older the anticipation came less from presents and more from a peaceful place.
I remember laying under the Christmas tree and looking up. I’d marvel at the different point of view, and the lights glowing above me almost like stars in the sky.
I remember putting the lighted nativity outside every year, and I’d carry the lighted baby Jesus like a real baby, taking it very seriously.
I remember helping my brother put the lights on the bush outside and not knowing he’d already plugged the strand in, and sticking my finger right into the socket I was about to screw the bulb into.
I remember new Christmas dresses, and feeling so pretty when I finally got to wear them.
I remember my parents giving me books for Christmas and begging me to not read them all in one day.
I remember the “Christmas program” we would do at Grandma’s house, singing carols and reading poems. I remember family pictures, documenting the years and the way the family grew year by year.
I remember driving through the streets of the next town over, bumper to bumper with others looking at the Christmas lights.
I remember singing in the children’s choir before Christmas Eve mass, and then taking the nativity scene up piece by piece.
I remember driving home from mass late one night, and watching a shooting star cross the sky… and feeling the deep peace and contentment of that moment.
It feels like through the years, as we’ve all gotten busier and Christmas has become more and more commercialized, that peace has gotten harder to find. The anticipation of the holiday has been replaced with stress. And instead of focusing on Christmas, we’re already worried about New Years Eve plans. Add into all of that, the extreme unrest in this world today.
This year… this year I’ve actually for one of the first times felt sad leading into Christmas. I’ve felt sad that I’ve had to force time to put up the tree. I’ve had to just decide to bake some cookies (store bought dough, because where on Earth am I going to find the time to make them from scratch?). I’ve sent out Christmas cards, but I already know many, many people won’t be sending any and my mailbox just isn’t as much fun to go check as usual. To pay the bills, my husband has to be away from home more than normal working, so I’ve watched all the Christmas specials all alone.
I’ve thankfully only missed one mass this advent — I’ve enjoyed the sermons on finding Joy.
I’m working on it…
I’m looking forward to taking time to go see some Christmas lights with friends this week. And I’m excited my church is having a live nativity that my husband has no idea I’m dragging him to see. I’m looking forward to seeing my family soon. I’m looking forward to looking up to the sky searching for another shooting star.