How do you prepare for the Christmas season? For me, it starts with a simple green wreath. I put it on a table, in a place of prominence (read: where I can see it), and I look at it for a few days. As I gaze at the unadorned circle of green, I think about the closet and the attic full of decorations in which to deck my halls with. I think about the next few weeks to come, and all that will happen. I envision all that needs to be accomplished before the parties happen, the families gather, and the big day arrives. I pull out a piece of paper, and a pen, and I begin to write.
Later, I tuck my notes and lists into my purse. I then make a conscious effort to forget about said notes and lists and move on with my day. At this point, I physically feel the anticipation as it builds in my core. I will myself to take a beat, even if for one day, to wait before I turn my attention to the items, the agendas, and the to-do-ing on those lists. I instead, turn my attention to the state of being called Wait.
As I write, it seems a bit comical that I extol the virtue of waiting in a column that encourages all to seize the day. But if you think about it, isn’t learning to wait with grace, the giving of your full attention to the state of time called waiting yet another way to seize the day?
I think of times I’ve waited, sometimes with joy, other times, not so much. Waiting for my wedding day, and the births of my children filled me with happiness, and excited anticipation. Waiting to heal from a life-threatening illness filled me with a sense of uncertainty. Waiting for a son to return home from war filled me with a fear only mothers of those who willingly put themselves in harm’s way will ever know.
While all of these waiting experiences bring wildly different feelings to the surface, the one feeling common to every one of my anticipatory times was the feeling of hope. I hoped for a beautiful wedding day. I hoped for a long and happy marriage. I hoped for easy deliveries. I hoped for healthy babies. I hoped to stick around long enough to rear my babies. And I hoped beyond hope that my oldest baby would return home safe and sound from Iraq.
At some point, the thing, or the day you’ve been waiting for, ready or not, comes to pass. Wedding days happen. Babies are born. Healing happens. Soldiers march home.
Ready or not, Christmas day is here.
Soon, very soon, I will reach into my handbag and pull out my notes and lists. I will go about the business of making myself, and my home ready for the parties, the family gatherings, and the big day to come. My emotions will run the gamut from happiness and excited anticipation to full on deer in the headlights panic, as I check off and scratch out the items on my lists. By Christmas Day, that poor piece of paper will be crumpled and scribbled on beyond recognition.
My hope for you and for me this year is to move gracefully through the next few weeks. I hope we embrace the wait and all the associated feelings. I hope we savor every moment for what it is. Before we know it, it will be Christmas day, which in my book is totally worth the wait.
Carpe Diem Y’all, Michele