This morning I woke up to the radio announcer saying “Just think…Christmas is one week from today! Are you ready?”
Where has the time gone? It can’t possibly be that close! How did that happen anyway? I still have shopping to do; in fact I haven’t really started. There are friends we want to have over for dinners we haven’t even planned yet. I haven’t bought Christmas cards, and guess I won’t again this year. And I still have one more batch of Christmas cookies to make…
But then I realized I also haven’t had time to slow down and enjoy the beauty of my favorite season, because we’ve been so busy working, and by the time the day is over we’re too tired to stop and smell the Christmas candles, or take a drive and enjoy the beauty of all the brightly lit decorated homes in the neighborhood. The season is becoming a time of stress and exhaustion rather than anticipation and excitement. And that’s not the way it’s supposed to be. Not at all.
What happened? Where’d the time go? There’s one week left…just seven short days.
Sixty years ago my little five year old self woke up one week before Christmas. And asked my mother excitedly, “how much longer til it’s Christmas?” And that answer of one week sounded like a lifetime…and seven days sounded even longer!
Time is measured differently at Christmastime by children. Because life is so much simpler for them.
When I was a child, we always had a candle we’d burn every evening at dinner, starting December 1. It had markings on it for the 24 days leading up to Christmas Day, and it seemed like that candle would never burn all the way down to 24! I remember the anticipation of watching it, and actually wondering if I could hurry up the time by burning two numbers each night instead of one!
When Christmas started getting so close, I was so excited I just couldn’t contain myself. By the time it was just a couple of days away, I couldn’t even sleep at night. And Christmas morning, I was up at the crack of dawn, because I wanted to see what Santa Claus had brought!
So what’s happened to the anticipation we should still be having for Christmas? Have we lost some of the excitement by being caught up in the hustle and bustle of everything we’re expected to do, and having no time to do it? Or are we trying to do too much and not taking the time to think about and appreciate the event that’s coming? And to share that excitement with others?
Let’s slow down a bit and enjoy the excitement of what Christmas really means…it’s not just what gifts we’re giving or getting. It’s a time of celebration of the birth of the Savior of the world. I think about how excited my husband and I are about the upcoming birth of our first grandchild, and that’s not until another five months! The celebration of Jesus’ birth is only seven days away! When it’s only seven more days til our granddaughter’s arrival date, I probably won’t be able to sleep either! Shouldn’t it still be that excitement for Christmas we had as a child?
I think it’s time to get excited again about what Christmas means, and anticipate the celebration that’s coming, instead of rushing around and worrying that we won’t have everything done. So smell the Christmas candles, take a ride and look at the lights, invite friends over for cake and egg nog, go Christmas caroling (even if you can’t sing that well), or take a plate of cookies to someone who may not have a lot of family or friends around this season. Call or visit someone who may be having a tough time with the season because of a recent loss, and give them a hug and a word of encouragement; you have no idea how much that will mean to them.
It’s not just about buying gifts, you know…..it’s about love and sharing that love with others. So start getting excited, not stressed! You’ll be surprised how much better you’ll feel.