The Spirit of the Thing

It seems to me there is a definite lack of Christmas/Holiday spirit around these parts.

And this year, it’s not just me - the perpetual Grinch who clamps her hands over her ears as soon as the radio stations go “all carols all the time.” It’s evident from  the decreased amount of outdoor decorations in our community and in the surrounding neighborhoods to the weary social media posts and blog essays, people are having a hard time getting into the spirit of this thing we call Christmas.

It could be the weather - mind you I’m not complaining one bit - but it’s been so balmy and dry here it’s hard to imagine that we’re into mid-December. We midwesterners have grown very accustomed to our white and frosty Christmas times.

Or maybe it’s the general sense of malaise and unrest throughout our country and all the world, the hair trigger tempers that lead to violence, the bitter debates and fractured feelings arising out of political and religious rhetoric. All this couldn’t be farther from the spirit of the season.

When I talk to my four-year old grandson on the phone this year, his excitement about Christmas is infectious. “Let me show you the tree, Grammy!” he shouts, and goes careening, iPhone in hand, over to their tree where he plays all the talking ornaments. “There are presents here, Grammy!” he says, panning the phone over the gaily wrapped presents beneath. “Christmas is almost here, Grammy!"

Yes, young one, that’s the spirit.

 Child-like, I go searching through closets and peeking under beds, trying to catch a glimpse of the treasures that might be under their tree, on the lookout for Christmas spirit. But I’m not sure if that child-like infectious wonder is possible for us as older-adults. We all know too much, we’ve experienced too many sorrows, and are too acquainted with grief. Perhaps what we’d do better to look for is a sense of peace and gratitude, the kind I feel every night when I light the candles in my living room and sit silently in their warm glow. The kind I feel sitting side by side with my husband, or holding his hand as we walk the dogs through our neighborhood. The kind that wells up in my eyes when I hear my grandson’s voice on the phone or see his adorable face reflected back to me on the screen. 

Yes, older one, that’s the spirit.

Not just for this thing we call Christmas, for but every day of our lives.

May the peace and spirit of the season be with you all.