Usually Christmas is the highlight of my year—the culmination of a whole year of days strung together. Christmas is like putting the cherry on the top of the sundae or the curly-que on top of the ice cream cone. Christmas is the finishing touch on the year.
But I haven’t been in the mood for Christmas. I winced as I typed that sentence. It seems so disloyal and Scrooge-like. I have avoided even thinking of Christmas this year. I am not sure why; I haven’t been able to put my finger on the reason.
Procrastination? Lack of funds and time, perhaps? Fear of being unable to meet expectations and demands? Maybe even a tad of rebellion because I don’t want the retail moguls influencing me. Actually let’s get to the root of the problem—for me Christmas is only Christmas if my heart and gaze is fixed on Jesus.
And it takes time to fix your heart and gaze. You can turn in that direction, but that doesn’t mean you are fixed. To turn in that direction there has to be a moment of stillness—an immeasurable stretch of time when you are held in suspension. A holding of your breath. A remembering.
Remember sitting in the dark with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and only the lights of the Christmas tree illuminated the room?
Remember the wonder you used to feel at the tiniest, simplest of things like the play of the light on an ornament suspended from a branch?
Remember waiting for the bell to ring in It’s a Wonderful Life?
Remember when the first strains of O Holy Night wafted through the air and you paid attention—you actually heard the words?
Remember when your children came down the stairs on Christmas morning—pell-mell, tumble-bumble* and their eyes grew wide?
Remember the poignancy of The Little Drummer Boy’s melody?
Remember when during a Christmas Eve service someone reached across the aisle and lit your tilted candle?
Remember when the angels broke the stillness of the dark night to announce a baby’s birth?
Remember when Mary gave birth to her child and there was a silence before he cried?
Today I remembered.
Today I held my breath. Just for a moment.
Large, airy flakes fell today—the first day of December.
For an immeasurable moment I felt wonder and awe.
In this stillness my heart started turning and stirring.
Come, Christmas! Come.
My heart is now being prepared.
I am ready for you now.
*from The Pokey Little Puppy