I would have to admit that for the past several years, I’ve spent a good deal of time inwardly pondering once the grey winter months arrive, what makes me feel or not feel like it is Christmas. Having lived in a foreign country for the past eight years, my challenge has been to create that Christmas feeling while the one element that makes me “feel” like it is Christmas is missing… my family.
This year will be the very first year that my husband and I have had a Christmas tree together… funny that the 8th year means “new beginnings”. Each year I’ve wanted a tree, but because of travel plans, whether to my parents or his, or sticky finger children that leaves only one option to set up a tree inside the playpen instead of outside of it, we’ve somehow never managed it. But this year we did manage … a little later than I had hoped, but accomplished nonetheless. It was essentially the first tree that we stumbled on, and a fine tree it is. Despite the kids excitement, I felt a certain melancholy mood as I was decorating the tree. This year has been full… full of good, full of busy, full of loss, full of change, just plain full.
Somehow unpacking my ornaments was a pure delight because it seemed as if each one was a surprise… “oh, I remember you” having been packed away all these years. With those memories, I thought about my family a lot. I thought about those that are mourning a much beloved friend that I lost just a few short months ago to cancer, and how this year will be about survival and just getting through for them, and not about “Merry and Bright”. While other friends that are mourning the loss of “what if” … and it makes me very grateful.
This year during the Advent season we have been sharing each day what we are grateful for, and even my oldest has joined in. Of course, in keeping with kids say the darndest things, he has not disappointed, but I love the fact that he is learning to search out even the little things that he appreciates. Perhaps it is an attitude that should not be limited to just a day, or even just a season. So, despite the fact that the most important people in my life are missing this year, the truth of it is that my life is full of abundance.
Wishing you the brightest this year for Christmas!