Advent season is here! For those of you unfamiliar with the Christian tradition, advent is the start of the liturgical calendar, the time of preparation for Christmas, the beginning of it ALL. There is a trend I see towards a minimalist Christmas. Cut the hassle, forget the tree, count calories, draw names in a gift exchange. I understand the pull for simplicity – aren’t our lives full enough? Do we need more complication, more stuff? But when I think about advent, and the Christmas season, and the kind of memories I have from childhood, and the kind of memories I want my children to have – I am not drawn towards austerity. The word I want for Christmas is abundance.
We are lucky to have the blessings and the resources we have – the blessings of family, of income, of time together – and in the Christmas season I want to celebrate those blessings. Trimming the tree, visiting Santa, decorating the house, sending cards to friends far and wide, entertaining the neighbors, choosing gifts for our loved ones and those less fortunate than we are, spending time by the fireplace, sipping hot chocolate, baking cookies, opening presents, feasting, laughing, giving — I want ALL of these to feature strongly in my children’s memories of the season.
Christmas is, after all, a season of celebration. The “reason for the season” is not malls and office parties and eight million renditions of “Do You Hear What I Hear?”, the second most awful Christmas song of all time (the first being, of course, “Christmas Shoes.”) But it is giving, and it is celebrating, and it is singing. Whatever your tradition, we are all celebrating this time of year. The miracle of light, the return of the sun, a baby being born into the world. All are the return of hope in in a time of adversity. What’s not to celebrate about that?
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