I did my best to avoid it but it was inevitable.
The holiday “rush” caught up to me.
Somewhere between the deadlines at work, the required shopping trips, the family gatherings over the past two weekends, school events and the other holiday activities, I lost the peace of the season.
For the past six weeks I’ve made a conscious effort to step outside the fray and enjoy the sights, the sounds, the smells and peace that the Christmas season brings.
I put up my lights early. I programmed my Ipod to play only seasonal favorites. I purchased gifts for most of my co-workers. I wrapped all the presents and placed them under the tree.
I watched Christmas movies whenever possible: Miracle on 34th Street (old and new), The Grinch, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Elf, Polar Express, Muppet Christmas Carol, A Christmas Carol, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and so many more.
I attended my employer’s lunch party (which was a BLAST, I might add). I agreed to attend my wife’s holiday event (ANOTHER blast!). I wore Christmas ties to work. I wished everyone I met a “Merry Christmas”, “Happy Holidays” or a “Season’s Greetings”!
I wrote passages of the Christmas story from Luke 2 and put them in my pocket as a reminder that I should tell the story like the shepherds, bring my best like the Wise Men, be available like Mary, be willing like Joseph, be joy-filled like Anna.
I did it all in an effort to find the joy of Christmas, the Reason for the Season, the innocence of the giving spirit.
And then yesterday it happened. It was yesterday at 3:47 pm at Castleton Mall when the unthinkable occurred. I didn’t care any more. I couldn’t wait to take down the lights, put away the trimmings, take off the Santa tie and call it a year. I was officially over Christmas.
So I came home, turned on some Christmas music, lit a candle, read Luke 2 again, closed my eyes and took a deep breath. It was then that I remembered that all the ties in the world, all the music on my Ipod, all the lights on my tree mean nothing at all. This season is about loving others, enabling peace, sharing joy and the Greatest Gift of all.
I’m better now and as I write this, I have smooth jazz Christmas music playing and my newest Christmas tie draped around my neck. I can’t wait to get the day started. There are still so many who haven’t heard the good news and my favorite phrase, “Merry Christmas to one and all!”