What Does Christmas Feel Like? 3

20121130-055925.jpg“It doesn’t feel like Christmas.”

If I could count high enough, I would know how often she has said this in the last three weeks. She is restless and pacing. She throws on shorts to walk the dogs, grumbling that there is no snow. She checks the weather, willing the temperatures to drop, for snow to magically appear, for a little, red snowbitten nose. She hung all the lights this year. She hauled all the boxes out of their corners. She put up the tree, she switched out the guest towels, she lit the scented candles.

“It doesn’t feel like Christmas.” 

I know what she means.

It is easy to romanticize our history, and more so when we peer through frosted windows into Christmases past, when Grandma didn’t have Alzheimers, and uncles were not sick. When everyone could come home, and everyone got the one thing they wanted. When all the food was just right and lalala.

I remember the thrill of lights and garlands and the smells of all the best food. I remember this bubbling anticipation in my stomach, like playing hide-and-seek when you just know you’re going to be found and you CAN’T WAIT for the hiding spot to be revealed. My friend Andi says her dogs do this, and then they “excitement pee.”

I wonder if children are the only ones who get to feel Christmas. They don’t have to navigate family messes, or worry about gift giving on a tight budget. They don’t have to plan food for weeks and then cook it all. Or maybe I’m adopting my father’s curmudgeonly spirit.

Truth is, it doesn’t feel like Christmas to me either. And maybe that’s good. Maybe the crazy pit of anticipation has given way to a quiet waiting.

I have to wonder about Mary, as the baby kicked inside her. I have to think that there was more of that calm waiting than any kind of frantic dash for more stimuli. I have to believe that while she grew that baby, she went about the business of her life. I can’t imagine her loudly heralding the coming King, but instead doing the tasks before her.

So the mundane doesn’t seem very Christmas-y. But they do seem like Advent. While we wait, we continue to move through our days, now with hide-and-seek anticipation, but with the quiet calm of the expectant mother.

What does Christmas, or Advent, feel like to you?


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3 thoughts on “What Does Christmas Feel Like?

  • Sara Breeggemann

    It doesn’t feel like Christmas to us either. I think a lot of that is because we spent so many years in WI, that December in NC is just not the same. It will help when we travel back for Christmas. I was thinking about other reasons why a couple of days ago. The conclusions I came to were that I haven’t done many of the things I usually do. We didn’t put up a tree, because money is tight & we wanted to save wherever we could. We didn’t bake cookies, so I tried to remedy that by baking a batch. We didn’t do a family photo/letter, so I will work on that while traveling. We haven’t done much shopping, again because of the money thing & I am making a lot of gifts this year.

    However, I do think that it does feel more like Advent. And that is good. I think that is often something we don’t grasp as children, because children naturally gravitate towards anticipation. I think that is a learned skill that comes with adulthood. That being said, I will make more effort this year. Because the whole family will not be together, because the funds are limited. But, there are lots of things we did as children that didn’t cost anything/much. We will go ice skating & sledding. (Please God, let there be snow!) We will drive around the countryside, looking at lights. We will play more games & bake more cookies. And somehow, I will try to put the magic back into those doubting children’s eyes.

  • Brock Webster

    I try and not focus on Christmas as much as I do Advent! While they are the same thing, Christmas has become a comercial driven instead of sprit lead! Advent helps me focus on the true meaning of Christ Birth! Afterall that is the real Christmas!!

  • kt_writes

    A beautiful reflection, and such an intriguing question: What DOES Christmas feel like? There are lots of little things that trigger those warm feelings for me—watching snow fall, tasting certain cookies I’ve been eating every Dec. since I had teeth, seeing quirky old ornaments I loved as a child… But most of all, Christmas feels like being with the people I love most, which means this year it can’t really feel like Christmas, since my kids will be with their dad (which means we do not travel to my parents’ house, and neither does my brother). It’s really hard, but it’s also a good opportunity to reconsider Christmas and look at it in a different way.