Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Christmas Gauntlet

Christmas is a wonderful season, but sometimes it can feel like a bit of a gauntlet. It seems a marathon effort to get the "holiday letter" written, get the cards sent, get the gift shopping done, get everything wrapped, cram all the parties and visits into a crazy calendar, and then we all collapse in a sigh of relief and happy exhaustion on the finish line Christmas Day. While there are occasional moments of despair ("how will we get it all done?"), the goodness of the season always wins me over and puts me in a great spirit. There have been many years where I've been out at the mall on December 24, and even though it's crazy crowded, the register lines are long, the store staff weary, and the shelves picked over, I'm always amazed at how the spirit of Christmas just picks me up. I chat with people in line, and while's there's inevitably a note of weariness, there's also a feeling that we're all part of this wonderful frenzy of giving, and it will all be good in the end. Even if we don't find the perfect gift for everyone, it is truly the thought that counts, the fact that we're together with our loved ones, and all participating in this annual ritual. I think the magic of Christmas is that it lifts us out of our quotidian toils, takes us out of ourselves, and gives us an annual moment of perspective to focus on all of the others we're grateful to have in our lives -- our close loved ones and our friends, including those friends from other times and places that we reconnect with maybe just once a year. Thinking of that, I smile as I'm standing in a seemingly endless line of people at See's Candy store, and with a light-hearted comment, I get the exhausted person next to me to smile, and the contagious Christmas spirit reminds us all why we're there.

1 comment:

Shellyce Day (Eric's wife) said...

Tom-
Just wanted to say-I'm ejoying your blog. My wonderful husband works with you (Eric Day), and has said many great things about you, and he turned me on to your blog. I really appreciate this Christmas post-I work for a church so this time of year is totally crazy for me, but the season can be such a beautiful time if we take time out to enjoy it. Keep up the interesting blogging:)
Shellyce Day