Contemplation in the Christmas Season
We have reached that point in December where life has slowed down enough for me to contemplate all the things I would like to do as celebrations of the season, but which I’m not likely to actually accomplish. I love the idea of a daily quiet contemplation where I light a candle and spend some time just sitting with the Christmas tree. I feel peace in those moments, that peace is the point of Christmas for me, connection to a natal event long past, connection to loved ones in the present, and expressing appreciation for all of it. I dearly want to carefully contemplate and select gifts for all the people in my life. I want to write handwritten notes. I want to give out tokens of appreciation. The reality of my holiday is that I might have a contemplative moment once or twice per week during the first part of December.
Only ten days remain between now and Christmas. In order to give gifts to everyone who matters to me, I’d need to sit down and make massive lists. I’d have to live by those lists and scramble to assemble and deliver everything. That effort would completely obliterate my attempts to find peace and contemplation during the holiday season. The two desires for Christmas celebration are mutually exclusive at this point. So I am going to do what I always end up doing, I’ll muddle my way down a compromise path. I’ll give some gifts, but not others. I’ll write some notes, I’ll give some tokens. Then I’ll hope that my neighbors will not feel slighted when I don’t make plates of treats to give away. I’ll look at the few Christmas cards on my wall, remember the years when the wall was covered, and know that this is the natural result of me being too busy to send cards out any time in the past five years. I still love both sending and receiving cards, but something has to go.
Our church Christmas party was tonight. It was a lovely event, good food, good company. The program was brief, but heart warming. It was a good balance of all the things a Christmas party needs to be. Howard, Link, and Kiki left early because they wanted to get back to the game they were playing together. Gleek and Patch played running games with all the other kids. I visited with a few friends, had one really important conversation, and then stood off to the side and observed. There have been times when I was fully invested in my community of neighbors, when I had important things to talk about with all of them. Lately I drift through, touching down in the community only lightly. I feel bad about that, because I know that it is my choices that keep me adrift. I would be more connected if I did things like making plates of treats for neighbors, or went out of my way to have conversations with people I have not spoken to lately. I have not given very much to my neighborhood community in this past year, all of my energy went into family, business, and keeping promises made to backers and customers. At some point in the future, maybe next year, I’ll connect with my neighborhood again. I do what I can and what I feel inspired is most important at the time. I did not spend this year wrongly.
We have one more week of school. During that week I need to help my two youngest kids select and acquire presents for their siblings. There are other holiday essentials to be planned and brought to fruition. And of course there are piles of homework that I get to guide my youngest into completing. It is plenty to track, but tonight I have a Christmas tree in the dark and a quiet hour to feel calm. It is well.
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