As the old adage goes, rules are made to be broken, right? This year I intentionally violated a rule that I carved in stone many years ago through my adherence to family traditions and practices.
I now publicly confess to you all – I started listening to Christmas music at the end of October. There, I said it. Whew I feel better already!
You see, I love – ABSOLUTELY love Thanksgiving. The idea of a day set aside to offer thanks is simple yet so very important. It is a day that asks so little of us. It asks only that we come together, break bread and remember the importance of being grateful for – well for everything! Oh and football and parades…
I love the smells that permeate my home on the days and hours leading up to the meal. I love the chaos that is my kitchen as family gathers. I love the ribbing my family gives me about the difficult instructions for filling their plates. I ask you, how hard is it to go to the place where you plan to eat, pick up your plate (because the tables are already set, you are so welcome family), bring the plate back to the kitchen, spoon delicious food onto it and return to the place where you first took the plate. Come on people – do you really need written instructions and a map! But I digress!
I love the memories of my grandparents as Pap Bruce’s “Tom Turkey” plate graces the table another year. My heart’s eye can see childhood gatherings around my mother’s table with relatives long gone enjoying the day. I can see my brother seated among us.
So normally, I take time to savor Thanksgiving – vow to keep it close to my heart throughout the coming year. But I just couldn’t prolong Christmas any longer – not this year.
Maybe it is that I really don’t remember last Christmas – I finished chemo on November 29 making last fall and winter a big blur. I didn’t bake a single cookie last year – not like me at all! I am sure I watched “White Christmas” but I don’t really remember. There was no “Nutcracker” ballet for the ladies of our family. Normal traditions were just beyond my grasp a year ago.
Maybe it is that I feel deep within me the need for the birth of Peace so badly at this time. That our world is longing, hungering for Hope and Love to walk among us or rather to remind us that they are already here. For the season to nudge us toward greater compassion and remind us of the need to welcome and nurture the gift of Love in those we encounter – in each and every person, everywhere. Could it be that this Christmas we will have eyes open and hearts willing to recognize that even in its infancy the Love born at Christmas changed the world and if we allow can continue to do so. Maybe this is the year that we claim the Promise and believe that Peace can be ours and “theirs” but only if understand that Love calls to us all.
And so I listen to the songs of Christmas. And with a hopeful and joyful heart I anticipate…