I am allll about feeling ... cozy :). Some people gravitate towards beauty, others toward romance, and still others seek out heat and sunshine ----- I am thrilled with a cup of something steamy, twinkling lights, flurries, a soft turtleneck sweater and all things snug and comfy. Really. All this does my soul good.
I love the way fall colors blend into the first snow fall, when I get to reorganize my closet and whip out all my favorite sweaters and the old stand by pair of cords. This fall I had the thrill of unpacking my maternity clothes at the same time, delighting in finding the shirt I wore when Sweet K made her arrival and reveling in a few new-to-me items :). Good times!
However, this season brings with it some angst as well. A few confessions :)....
1. I don't really like christmas baking. Let me rephrase that. I don't like MAKING christmas baking. I really ENJOY eating it (especially when other people have put it together!!!). SO this year, I have abandoned the pressure-filled tradition of cookin' up something tasty and pretty. I might make a few favorite cookies, the kind that go over really well and I'm not tossing out the dried out ones at the end of the week :). But no major baking spree for me this christmas. I have decided to save this tradition for when it is meaningful for the kids as well. Then we can all decorate tasty treats together and craft our memories in fun!!
2. Christmas shopping stresses me out!!
- It is not because I don't enjoy giving people gifts. Because I do.
- It is not because J&I are NOT early shoppers. We shop the 2nd week of December (though we have r.e.a.l.l.y. detailed lists well before that - does that count :P?), and definitely the 3rd week. (I find that other people freak out about my not-finished-christmas-shopping far sooner than I do!!!)
- Full malls do not intimidate me (it's the -40 windchill with kids combo that prompts me to stay home!!). In fact, I ENJOY the craziness (well, maybe not the long trek across the walmart parking lot!). You see the funniest people! (Well, they see me too, so I can say that!!).
- The thing that stresses me out most is the fear of disappointing people! Nothing worse (okay, maybe there are a few things worse!!) than searching your heart and scouring the malls (or your own creativity) for the perfect gift, only to see that it was not meaningful at all to the one you love. And let's face it, some people are just plain impossible to shop for!!!
3. I really really really r.e.a.l.l.y dislike the question, "Are you ready for Christmas?" I know it's just a good conversation starter, like the weather or the things that your kids are doin' that are drivin' you crazy, but it chafes at me like a pair of tight leather pants on a hot summer day (not that I've actually worn such, but just the thought makes me shudder :P).
Why? Why does this bother me so?
- It adds to the perception that life is a race. The first person with their tree up and shopping done, wins. Sigh. I know this is not the intention of the question, but it's the pressure I feel with these kinds of conversations. Silly, but true.
- It triggers that aforementioned issue I have with gift-giving :P. And an ongoing issue I have with procrastination :)!!
- But mostly, because it's such a casual conversation that resonates deep meanings in my heart. This advent season I've been reflecting on material provided through our church conference. At first I was skeptical - would these short devotions be relevant (or understandable!!) for me at this season in my life? But they have spoken deeply to me. In the ambient light of the christmas tree, reflecting over coffee, journal and bible, I am challenged beyond the nativity story. I am called to examine again and celebrate with thanksgiving the freedom I've experienced because of my Savior (which has not been an easy journey). Increasingly, my attention has been drawn to the return of the King and the kingdom of justice, mercy and love He is beginning now and will establish in entirety at some point in history. And I am forced to ask myself questions - am I using the talents and time He has given for His glory? Am I truly surrendered to participating in serving Him, rather than getting lost in the distractions of life? In what ways am I contributing to injustice without even thinking of it? And more. So much more. I love the story of Advent - the liberty that came and the liberty to come! And I am challenged into self-examine, with no guarantee of what I will find and wrestle with.
Am I ready for Christmas? Go ahead - ask. I dare you :). I will smirk because it is a sticky question for me. Yes - I have lights up, garlands in place, I have lists like you wouldn't believe, some presents bought that I am TOTALLY PSYCHED about giving :) (others, I hope, that will do just fine!!) and I am on a christmas-baking strike, so that's one other thing off the list!! But am I ready for Christ's return? Yes and no. I cannot imagine that moment when I get to thank Him face to face for all he has done. Gives me chills just thinking of it. But no - there is much more person for me to become and much more that I hope to do in gratitude before that moment arrives.