Is it just me or did Christmas arrive early this year?
The day after Daylight Savings took effect I was amazed, on my early morning walk, to see Christmas banners and lights adorning my local shopping center. It was November 4th and I was still recovering from Halloween the Thursday prior! Even during Halloween week I noted most of the stores were putting up Christmas displays, and commercials for Black Friday were airing how the sales would begin on Thanksgiving at 6 PM. At that time I normally am sitting, amongst family, staring at desserts with a distended stomach full of turkey. I’d probably still be imbibing in alcoholic beverages; in no way ready to hit the pavement to peruse sales. This morning, as the moon waxed full, I saw that a neighboring house already has their Christmas lights up. W-O-W!
I am thankful. I really do not need anything this holiday season. But I am also guilty for “window shopping” online; not for gifts for family…but for myself! Gasp! I said it. Because, really, who are people shopping for when they sit in line in front of stores in the wee hours of the night. People shop for themselves. Me, Me. Me.
The holiday music has afflicted us since late September. The eldest practices his jazz sheet music; the syncopated rhythms of “Dashing through the snow” and “Jingle Bells” reverberating within our household walls. We’ve caught ourselves humming the tunes to which the hubby yells, “Bah Humbug! It’s September!” When I pointed out the colorful lit bells in our shopping center, late one evening, he grumpily recited his “Bah humbug;” his disdain for the commercialized meaning of the holidays. Today as I ran bank errands I passed through the mall; a convincing Santa waving at me. I imagined my three sons sitting on his lap. NOT!
It seems like everyone has forgotten to give thanks and, instead, focused on gift giving; or more than likely, gift receiving. My kids are no exception. Over the weekend the eldest requested an electronic item from Santa as he poked at my shoulder (hint, hint). I dutifully ignored him to which the hubs angrily muttered something about materialism. In stark contrast, thousands of people in the Philippines struggle for basic needs: food, clothing, shelter. Everything can change in one instant.
This is a hard sell for my boys. Like me, they are getting distracted and bedazzled by the lights, the ooh and ahh of trees, shiny bulbs and material things. I need to slow-it-down and refocus; the tree image blurring. It is in the giving spirit, to others, that brings me the most joy; kids included. But it is also teaching my sons to be great gift recipients; the anti-thesis of what I want. Once again, I struggle to find the balance. To even out the scales I will talk with my boys. To give generously. Thoughts are swirling in my mind….
And so I take stock. I look at the plethora of blessings surrounding me. My own home, my healthy sons, my patient hubs. I sat in mass, this Sunday, observing that ordinary time will soon be ending and the Advent season, the season of waiting, “coming”, begins on December 1st. I can’t wait! I don’t think I realized how much I enjoy lighting the candles as the nights grow long. I love staring at the fires in the fireplace; the smoky smell of wood and ash filling my home. Instead of Thanksgiving I am giving thanks. Instead of Christmas (mas meaning more in Spanish), I want more Christ. In the ordinary. Every. Day. No need to wait. The time is now.