By Theresa Blume
First, the turkey was stuffed. Then, we were stuffed. Now, we think about stuffing stockings as the season of stress and panic has arrived.
I am not talking about Christmas Day. I am talking about the time between Black Friday and Christmas Eve. We have approximately 24 days to get gifts bought, wrapped, and shipped or placed under the tree, Christmas cards sent, decorations up, party clothes ready, cookies baked, gatherings planned, photos taken, music prepared, and did I mention getting a tree?
Now, I know there are some of you who are organized and have been making preparations for months. You have a Christmas savings account and have been purchasing or making gifts all year long. You had your lights ready to turn on the day after Thanksgiving, and your Christmas cards (with a family photo from last July’s vacation imprinted on them) are already signed and stamped, ready to go into the mail on the exact right day.
My guess is that you are also morning people, right? You go jogging every morning faithfully and probably eat a grapefruit for breakfast. Good for you.
I am still trying to find my winter clothes and am scrambling to figure out how I will get Christmas presents for everyone this year. There is a pressure deep in my chest with each card I get in the mail and with each catalog that comes filled with gift ideas. I have six boxes of Christmas stuff to sort through, knowing it will not all fit in our new home anyway.
My priorities get thrown to the wind as I try to figure out what I am expected to do first. Then of course there is everyday life and work added to the mix. Birthdays and an unexpected funeral of my favorite aunt and dealing with the weather all add up to a hectic and emotion-filled December.
Yet, then I pass by the Wildwood Park and see that the light and music show spectacular is now open. It is a reminder to stop and enjoy the season and soak in the hard work of those who put it together. It is a beautiful, hopeful, and positive way to help the community with each visitor.
Driving home on the dark winter nights I notice the lights of homes and businesses, and it cheers my weary soul. They are expressing the joy and gladness of Christmas with the freedom for which many fought so hard. So many sacrificed to give us freedom to worship, freedom to speak up, and freedom to decorate with Christmas lights.
I may not get my cards or gifts sent out, but as long as I keep the focus where it is supposed to be, I will be just fine. This is not the season of stress and panic. It is the season of spreading joy and goodwill and peace to all. Let our hearts be stuffed with that as we prepare for Christmas.