[This post is dedicated to Edie of Life in Grace, who lost her home to fire a few days before Christmas. I can't imagine how you feel, and I pray your sense of home is restored, with much grace from God.]
I've been thinking a lot about the holiday season.
Christmas is my favorite time of year. Like most of us, I love the cozy nights by the fire, the excuses to see family, and the many special treats and traditions that we look forward to every December.
There's always something that bothers me, though. It starts to set in bright and early on December 26, and by January 2, it's full blown. The Let Down. Everyone talks about it, everyone fears it. I can't say why for the rest of you, but for me, here it is:
The holidays give us permission to value the things that are really important to us. We walk into a store and the songs are playing over the speakers: "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire," "There's no place like home for the holidays," "Since we've no place to go, Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!" It's like our whole culture allows one big recess from the usual focus on achievement, acquiring, and conquering. We are told it's acceptable, even preferable, to sock in, cuddle up, turn to our families and friends, and allow that to be enough.
I know we have control over our own lives and we can choose what messages we allow to penetrate during the other 11 months of the year. We can sock in and cuddle up anytime we want to, right? But somehow it just feels like the hurdles are bigger, and that we have to defend our choices a little harder.
Does anyone else just feel a bit bummed about having to get back in the fight?
In an attempt to remind myself that "home for the holidays" doesn't have to end after Christmas, I posted this quote in my kitchen:
Winter is the time for comfort. For good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand, and for a talk beside the fire. It is the time for home.
--Edith Sitwell, British poet
May your January have as many open fires, chestnuts, and comforts of home as your December.