I’m not quite sure I’m ready for you this year. With temperatures staying warmer longer than usual this year, it kind of feels like you snuck up on me. Christmas decorations have popped up everywhere (including an absurd amount of decorations that make it look like all over our next door neighbor’s front lawn and house). We’ve begun receiving Christmas cards from family and friends, even though last year’s Christmas cards are still hanging over our couch as just one more reminder of how time has stood still for us this year in so many ways. Even Dunkin Donuts has started putting my morning coffee in a holiday cup. I just can’t do it.
Last year at this time life was so different. We found out in early December that I was pregnant, and we spent the entire Advent and Christmas seasons filled with so much joy and anticipation for what the coming year would bring. I loved going to Advent services and singing along with Holden Evening Prayer the words of Mary’s Magnificat upon being told that she would be the mother of Jesus: “My soul proclaims your greatness, O God, and my spirit rejoices in you. You have looked with love on your servant here and blessed me all my life through.” Those Wednesday evening services grounded me and centered me in the midst of the anticipation, excitement, joy, and fear that I was feeling around being pregnant with our first child. I lived into the waiting and the joyful anticipation of the Advent season.
This year, all those things feel different. In place of anticipation, excitement, joy, and fear, there is grief, weariness, sadness, and fear. Feelings that weigh down even the happiest of days. And it seems as though you, December, have exacerbated those feelings. The holidays this year are such a reminder of what our lives should be like, preparing for and celebrating Alexander’s first Christmas. Every tree lighting ceremony. Every facebook post with pictures of our friends’ babies who are celebrating their first Christmas this year. Every family photo. Every Christmas card. The reminders of Alexander’s absence seem to be everywhere this month.
So, December, all I’m asking is that you please be gentle. Let me fly under the radar when I need to. Because I’d really like to just skip this month and go right into January. Please be okay with me not decorating this year or avoiding family get togethers if that’s what I need to do or not getting terribly excited about all of the other holiday traditions that are happening this month. Because this year, you feel terribly different than you should. You are terribly different than we had planned.
More than anything else, I wish this December was different. Oh, how I wish it was different.
But it is what it is, so I’ll do what I need to do. We will do what we need to do.
We will wait. In this Advent season, we will wait with longstanding patience and will hold onto the tiniest shred of hope to be found in the coming Christ.
Feeling tired already on December 2,