It’s almost here! It’s almost here! Every year it feels the same: like Christmas sneaks up on me! I don’t know why that is, maybe because I have such high expectations for the season that it feels like it will never really come; it feels like Christmas isn’t real. I’m always waiting for something amazing, something absolutely fabulous to happen…and then the day arrives and that’s it. Just another day. It’s over, just like that.
Do you ever feel that way? You build something up so big in your mind that there is no way the realization will ever compare to your ideal? Why do we do that? Why do we dream?
Last night we went caroling with some church friends. We called on the homes of some elderly members of our congregation. It was so fun. The smiles on the faces at the doors were so sweet; there was even a tear or two. The children had a blast. We all held candles as we sang and this made them feel so grown up and special. It really was a lovely time.
Afterwards, Jeff and I had decided to drive the boys up to a local park and check out their Christmas light display. Little Jeffrey wanted to stop by the house and pick up his camera. We decided to take Lucy Mae along for the ride. The poor thing had been cooped up most of the day all by herself (keep this in mind). I was dying to hear Chris Rice’s Welcome To Our World, so I ran in the house to get the CD. Our CDs are in a book shelf behind the couch. CD in hand, dog in tow, camera at the ready, we took off.
Halfway there, I smelled something funny. Looking down, I discovered that I stepped in some doggie doo doo. Interesting, thought I, I must have stepped in it while caroling, since I didn’t even walk in the grass at home. We pulled over and I wiped my boot in the grass, eliminating the offensive stuff. A minor distraction, and once again we were on our way.
The lights were nice, the music nicer. The Lucy Mae didn’t seem to appreciate it at all. We were heading into Christmas, and my heart was happy. Could anyone ask for a better night? Caroling, Christmas lights, Christmas music, my family all together with shining faces…
Then we got home. As soon as the boys walked in the house, I knew something was wrong. I thought there was a fire (did I leave my candle burning again?). Maybe a pipe burst and the house was flooded. Did the Christmas tree fall down?
None of the above. What met my eyes may not have registered quite as high on the disaster scale, but my nose disagreed. You guessed it. There was a trail of doggie doo doo tracked all the way through the house. From right behind the couch (the origination point), all the way through the living room and kitchen.
Any dog owner will tell you that it’s bound to happen. Leave a dog alone long enough, there’s no avoiding it. It wasn’t her fault, it was ours. Poor thing had no choice. She tried to hide it behind the couch. I was in such a hurry; I didn’t even notice that I stepped in it. (how in the world, I will never know)
Sometimes Christmas feels like that. Everything is going along great, and then all of a sudden, you step in a pile of crap. And then you have to clean it up.
It’s very easy to get side tracked during this season. The secular traditions of Christmas and the religious rituals are so intertwined that it’s easy to become confused. The emptiness that comes from the materialism that so characterizes the Christmas of today can leave us feeling farther away from Christ. That is why it is so important to take time to be with our Lord and Savior during the Advent season.
I often joke with my children that during Christmas, I would love to stay at church. All day. Every day. Here, I feel no confusion. There is no intrusion of holiday lists or shopping mania. The candles, the stained glass, the feeling of peace…these things invite me to celebrate the birth of Jesus in my heart.
I spent the morning shampooing my carpet. When I was done, I sat down on the couch and popped in my Chris Rice CD. Welcome to our world, Little One. Welcome to our world.
And there was peace in my heart. Even if my house did smell like carpet shampoo (which is better than some things).