The holiday season has started upon us, and has already been busy with wonderful visits, activities, and meals. On this weekend of Thanksgiving, I have so enjoyed reading and hearing about the thankfulness of others. Thanksgiving for me is a herald of the holiday season, an announcement of the anniversary celebrated in the days to come. While this herald may conjure up images of turkeys and sweet potato casserole among many, I am actually quite content with a ham sandwich for my meal. The food, though tasty, is not Thanksgiving. This last Thanksgiving, just a few days past, is one where I paused and stood a moment; a split second to take in the sound of little feet running and trailing giggles, in-depth discussions over recipes, wonderfully tantalizing smells, and feel of many crowding into the heart of a home.
Yes, I am thankful. And, at this crazily busy time of year, I love to have this reminder and chance to participate as a society to pause and be thankful together. Not to pretend our difficulties do not exist, but to at least momentarily be reminded to move through them holding the hopes that are bright, like the Christmas lights being put up. Hope in the very faithfulness of God. That gratitude refreshed on this long weekend, is not dependent upon a holiday. But, I am thankful for the holidays as a sweet reminder of gratitude for God’s hope.
That gratitude was mixing yesterday with a sweet melancholy sentiment as I started to put up ornaments on the tree. I love Christmas! The lights, the music, my favorite smells of pine, and the very feeling of the clean chill air. Carefully holding an ornament, choosing the perfect place on the tree, and placing it on the branch; it is placing little moments of memories of years’ past. My heart, full of joy and thanksgiving is also slightly tugged on. The memories of Christmas past, those who are loved and miles away, or have gone on to be with God, these dear people make up memories of layers of Christmas past. Not as waves of sadness, but the delicate layers of sentiment and memory that leads my mind to jump from year to year and will be added to this year.
This season has been officially brought in with praises, intentional thankfulness, and deep rooted memories that tug and bring up joy. But, most of all the season has begun, the celebration of hope – eternal and human, a baby and a man, death and life – the season of the Nativity!