Advent is, in large part, all about community. While Mary may have kept to herself as she “pondered these things in her heart” (Luke 2:19), she was in the stable at the time, surrounded by a no doubt still-stunned Joseph and a cadre of wild-talking shepherds.
People need people. We’re a social species. And sometimes, the holidays can be very, very hard. Maybe your childhood wasn’t filled with the kinds of warm, fuzzy memories that make Hallmark movies. Maybe your relationships with others have sharp edges and a Norman Rockwell Christmas isn’t likely to happen and you feel conflicted about that.
Don’t worry about it. It’s okay.
Really, it is. It’s okay.
Just do something good for somebody today. Show some courtesy and compassion, especially to those who really, really need it right now. Put some extra food in your donation box. Smile at that harried cashier. Reach out to the frazzled folks working retail.
And slow down, just a little. Yes, you can do this.
Today, for example, it was cold and rainy – the sort of rain where you just can’t get your windshield clear. I had grading galore to work on and I did it. But I also took time to decorate the fir wreath I bought yesterday. I made a batch of “puppy chow” (yum – Chex Mix as a peanut butter/chocolate delivery system!) to take to my book club, where we snacked on yummy delectables and talked about favorite holiday books. I now want to check out The Littlest Angel and hear David Sedaris read “The Santaland Diaries.” I shared a couple of my favorites – A Christmas Memory and A Different Kind of Christmas and we also talked holiday movies – can you believe I’ve never seen Elf? However, I suggested Christmas in Connecticut and there’s also A Star in the Night, a short that we found last year that’s well worth checking out. You can watch the whole thing (it’s only about 20 minutes long) here!
The common thread in all of these is the idea of community – again, people need people.
Slow down a little and enjoy the season. Maybe even make some cocoa.