It doesn't feel like December. There are still boxes from our September move in the living room. Our special Advent/Christmas book by Dr. Grant remains untouched this year. I've not had energy for baking, let alone cleaning or decorating. The temps just turned cold, but there is no snow. We flubbed Thanksgiving this year, so it doesn't even feel like we've had November. People around us have up lights and trees, and it always seems to make me wonder what they are doing putting up decorations so early. But then it dawns on me how close Christmas really is. I even bought us tickets to see Ravi Zacharias' Christmas program in the hopes it would put me in the mood. His talk was awesome and deep, but the music part of it just seemed too entertaining and lacking in the sacred Advent preparation I was expecting. The main girl singing made me feel like I was in a lounge, and not trying to prepare my heart for remembering the birth of Jesus.
This past week, I've actually wanted to skip the whole Christmas thing. Decorating seems like too much work, and I don't have an income this year to get my husband anything really special and he won't give me any ideas on what he wants anyway. I'm supposed to listen all year, take notes, and then be brilliantly thoughtful in December. This year, it seems I failed in the listening department, on levels beyond gift giving.
It's the third year in a row that I've only been able to make my family jam as a gift, instead of lavishing them like I used to do and they all still do for us. And I wonder if they think my love is less or that I'm selfish, even though my brain knows this holiday isn't about gifts.
I think I'm just in this extended pity party at the moment, wanting to stay there when I know there are a zillion things for which I should be grateful. I won't go into all the reasons. So I was kind of hoping we could just pretend to be ostriches, stick our heads under the dirt, and wait for next year's December. It seemed easy enough. Even our church is studying Genesis and not taking a break even though it's December, so it's not like we're surrounded with Advent preparations.
But no one around me seems willing to cooperate. When I told my mom that it's just getting too hard to call and talk to everyone who gets to be together at the holidays, she said they would call me this year. It's just that everyone is so busy connecting with each other at my grandma's, and sometimes I feel awkward trying to carry on a conversation from 2,500 miles away. (Thanksgiving is always harder though, because I'm at home alone with a husband out working and in a country where their somewhat similar holiday already passed over a month before, while everyone in the States is actually celebrating.) And something tells me that if I don't keep up the hollering "Christmas Gift!" tradition that my other grandma left behind when she went to live with Jesus eight long years ago, that my brother will make sure it's not forgotten.
When I told my husband that we could just skip the whole tree thing this year since he won't let me tromp in the woods at this late date (and we never finished researching the whole permit issue someone told us BC had) and I knew money for a farmed tree was the last thing we had, he wouldn't hear of it. So we found ourselves counting out change, braving bitter cold (no snow though), high winds (60-80 kph), and asking for the Charlie Brown section. Now I have a tree that is pretty attractive in its own way, though upon contact makes one wonder if it's related to a cactus, sitting in our living room.
So it doesn't look like we're skipping Christmas. It may be a quiet one with just the two of us, and there may be nowhere to go and no traditional baking in site, and the turkey I planned may still sit in the freezer since my husband decided on lamb instead. But we'll have Christmas. And I guess that's a good thing. Hopefully the feelings will show up by the 25th of this year. Because it reminds me that God didn't forget Christmas all those years ago, and His story says He hasn't forgotten us now.
I love Christmas. All holidays are holy and special days in my book, and I love to celebrate and highlight them. I don't know exactly why or how all this happened, but I look forward to having a "do over" next year, with the chance to treasure the time and make the most of each special day.....even if I don't feel like it at the time. Yes, a do over sounds marvelous.