Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Waiting for Christmas To Come

Okay, so everyone that knows me knows that I LOVE Christmas. It's my favorite time of year. I love the music, the food, the time with family, thinking of good gifts to give, the celebration, the decorations...I love Christmas. Most of all, I love the reason to celebrate. I love to yearly take time to revel in the heart of it all.

This year, though, I'm finding that it just doesn't "feel" like Christmas. I'm not sure how to describe it. I've been listening to Christmas music and drinking eggnog. I've got gifts waiting to be wrapped. This weekend is set aside for cookie baking...and I've already gone through the first batch of caramel corn. The neighbors have their Christmas lights up although I must admit, my fear of cold has kept me from putting up any even though a) I know it's not cold out...not really and b) it is my first Christmas in my new house so I feel like I should.

Is this what happens as we get older? Does the "magic" of the season really go away...or am I just expecting it to happen too early?

Or perhaps it's part of a bigger question I've been wrestling with lately: where is joy found? I know it's part of the fruit of the Spirit. I know that Joy is found in Christ alone. In my head, I know where joy is found. What I want to know is how, in the busyness of life, does joy take up residence in my heart and in my life? When I'm tired and discouraged, how am I filled with joy?

For months, I've been confronted on what seems like every side with conversations and questions about what it means to live well. It's got me reflecting a lot on how I live my life. I admit it. I work a lot. As hard (and sad) as it is to admit, I don't really know what to do with myself when I'm not working. It's a good thing I enjoy both of my jobs most of the time. But is that what it means to live well? What things would I want as a part of my life when I think of living my life well? Are there things that I would change? What things fill me and fuel me so that I can approach the day to day "grind" with joy...not necessarily happiness but real deep joy and peace?

In the middle of all of this, I've been confronted with tragedy...and it's taken the conversation to a whole new level. Three beautiful girls were killed far too young, one of whom has had a great impact on my life and whom I am grateful to have been able to call a friend. She lived life well, in my opinion, and continues to impact lives in her death the way that she did in her life. Her memorial was a beautiful testimony to a live lived vibrantly, with an undeniable spark, and lived faithfully to her God. She was small but she lived big. Her life was short but her impact was of lasting influence. If I wasn't thinking about all of this before, I'm thinking about it now: what does it mean to live well?

So here I am, December 1, approaching the Christmas season, feeling a little bit tired, hoping that I am living well, and looking for a little bit of magic this season.

I know people make fun of me. Yes, I've been listening to Christmas music since November 1 and it was a moment of great excitement when I found Christmas at Starbucks. I love the decorations in the stores and the music through the speakers. I love shortbread and gingerbread and caramel popcorn, even if it means a few extra pounds. I love parties with friends and families...lots of get-togethers, laughing, stories and memories. I love that I can speak the name of Jesus as the reason that I celebrate in a very unique way throughout the season. I love Christmas. I'm waiting for Christmas to come.

As I'm writing this, it's dawned on me that maybe this is why: Christmas seems to be the season that gives me permission to live well and holds glimpses of the way that I want to live all year long. During the Christmas season, it seems like we all take a step towards living well, living better.

There is magic to be found. There is something to this season. There is a reason to be waiting for Christmas and to be praying that the things we learn and the things we love about the season can invade our every day, day to day lives.







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