Friday, November 18, 2011

The Closing Of The Year

The winds of November have blown the vestiges of October off the calendar page. Days have drifted into weeks, which have pulled us closer to that holiday of plenty once again.

One week away.

Then Christmas. Just around the corner.

The closing of the year is always an interesting time for me. For our family. Probably for most families, each in its own way. For me it's a time of nearly perpetual motion; set in gear by that flip of the calender page back on November first. It always seems as though within days of that action, we're getting ready to sit down to The Feast. The one day wherein it's completely socially acceptable to be an utter glutton. For the the whole day. I read somewhere that the Pilgrims celebrated their Thanksgiving for three full days. Each one adhering to a rigorous schedule of eat, play, sleep; repeat. For three days. .

November comes and my house is bedecked in all things Holiday Cheer. Trees. Lights. Colors. Ornaments. All up and shimmering. A shiny way to smooth out this year and usher in the next. Christmas songs fill the house and our car, carrying us along our way, floating on a cloud of Yule Tide Cheer. I know everyone has an opinion about it, but for what it's worth, I actually like hearing Christmas songs played in the retail stores throughout the season. Even when "The Season" starts on November first. Along with that fateful page flip seems to come a strange compulsion for some people to become completely oblivious to the existence of other human beings around them. For an entire 2 months it seems, there are those in our realms who feel they are alone:

On The Road ---so let's feel free to cut over a lane without looking. Surely there is no one there.

In the Stores--- it's okay to push your way through, since surely there is no one there on whose toes you may have just stepped.

At the Checkout Lane---if there's no one in front of or behind you, it doesn't matter what lane you choose. And no, you haven't cut in front of anyone. Besides, you need to get home, right?


For the rest of us, those who don't disappear into a world of No One Else, we have to put up with the pushing, cutting, and rather aggressive driving. With a smile. Christmas Music helps me with that.

When a stranger, dwelling in the land of No One Else, runs their cart into my child, nearly knocking her down, and then passes us by without a glance....well, the happy rhythm of Jingle Bells goes a long way towards helping me keep my focus on my perplexed child, and not on trailing the offender and expressing something somewhat less than Christmas Cheer.

All season long.

Every year I promise myself we'll make the focus on The Birth that means more than brightly packaged presents. Yet it's so easy to get caught up in the fast pace of it. So I end my year promising to keep better focus next year.

A cycle.

Will this year be different? I have to hope it will be. There's always great hope in that pure intention. Our decorations are out, halls having been decked over the course of the last 2 weeks, thus saving me from an onslaught of sudden Christmas Season Fervor. Lists have been written up by two little girls who very endearingly informed me that they didn't really need more 'things' this year. And we're all gathered together, remembering why we have this glittery holiday to begin with. The story that goes back longer than the tale of St. Nick; back to a simple town, and a lowly manger, and the Miracle that was born there.

On this calm November day, I find myself quite peaceful and focused.

And ready for The Season.

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