Christmas in the Air
There was a time when I was grumpy about how early Christmas seemed to come to the stores. It seemed that as soon as Halloween was over, everyone was stuffing their shelves with Christmas items, and people were starting to play Christmas music. As the years have gone on, this has moved farther and farther up into the year, until -- as in this past year for example -- you could find things as early as August. School hadn't even started yet!
This year I discovered music stations had started playing Christmas music the first of November. I couldn't believe it. Hello...Thanksgiving hadn't even come yet! At first I lived in denial -- I didn't want to hear it, didn't want to think about it. Christmas was still weeks away, and I didn't want to get too excited about it.
Then, as the month wore on and the economic outlook of our country started to look grim, I realized we needed the earlier Christmas. In many ways (important ones) Christmas is not about the shopping, giving or receiving of presents. It's about the season and the feeling it gives us.
I think people recognize that we need it more than ever this year. As I realized this, I grew excited to hear the songs on the radio...looked forward to Thanksgiving and the days after when we start decorating our house and listening to Christmas music in our home.
Interestingly enough -- or should I say rightly enough -- Christmas is about Christ. The feelings of good will, charity and generosity, family and greater patience with others, come from the light of Christ that is in all of us. For some reason people feel more of it this time of year, and it's easier to find a smile, kind word and courteous act.
Many of us have a picture of the perfect Christmas in our head. Sometimes it involves a gift, but usually it's a memory of a family gathering or activity such as sledding down a snowy hill, having a snowball fight, gathered around the piano singing carols, sitting around the table drinking hot chocolate. Many of us picture those perfect Christmas cards of Victorian times, where the women are wrapped in furs and the men are dashing and gallant.
In future blogs for December, I'm going to talk about different types of art involved with Christmas and how it brings us closer to the season. But for now, I just wanted to expound on the season and the feelings.
The biggest thing that seemed to hit me this year, was the feeling of hope. Christmas brings us the feelings of hope that we felt as children. It's not the hope that we'll get all the material things we want, but the hope that things will be happy. Our families will be healthy, our bills will be paid, our jobs remain secure, and we will have special times together.
It has nothing to do with presents or the outward trappings of the season, though I think the decorations add greatly to the feelings. I feel is the most important thing Dr. Seuse ever said in How the Grinch Stole Christmas:
"Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store."
"Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"
I hope that in the coming weeks, the feeling of hope permeates your home. The spirit of the season -- the joy that Christ brings to our lives -- fills your family and heart with joy.
Return to the Neighborhood.