Part Two of our trip to NYC at Christmas time.
Part one is here.
We are just 13 days from Christmas and here in New Hampshire the sun is shining, the grass glistens as the frost covered blades reflect the low morning sun. The temperature outside was 20 degrees when I came downstairs this morning. The air is crisp, it’s clear, and all is still as the sun climbs to its short-lived perch in the late autumn sky. This time of the year the sun only gets so high in the sky. The temperatures warm for a short time before falling as quickly as the sun darts to the afternoon horizon. The sun’s lower position in the sky exposes every imperfection, smudge, or collection of dirt on windows everywhere. The angles of sunlight throughout each day are different from any other time of the year. The sun doesn’t wander too far from the horizon in the weeks leading to Christmas. We are only a week or so away from the official start of winter and after a very mild November, the air is starting to feel like winter.
The daylight is shorter everyday. Darkness comes early and often. This is fitting I think as the shorter daylight hours prompt more time to bask in the glow of the Christmas lights. To me, there’s no light like the light coming from the Christmas tree, or the candles in the windows. Somehow it is warmer, somehow it’s right. And even though it’s not too bright, it is just the perfect sight. Sitting in a Christmas tree lit room just seems warm and calm, no matter the tempest outside. It’s 13 days to Christmas, there are no presents under our tree just yet. As a matter of fact we don’t have the tree completely decorated yet. We do have lights on it though.
The twins seem to like all the Christmas lights both in the house and in the neighborhoods we drive through each week. They immediately noticed the little village we have started on the mantle of our fireplace (propane lit). They love when we plug in the lights to the little buildings once night falls. Their wide eyes sparkle as they look from the village to the tree and back. Maybe the lights sparkling in their innocent, clear blue eyes, are my favorite this Christmas.
It’s just 13 days to Christmas and then the day of our Lord’s birth will be done. The day will be done but the meaning will remain. The spirit of Christmas need not depart, but I am afraid it will. I think more folks should try the Christmas Spirit on for size and wear it for more than a few hours each year. I define the Christmas Spirit something like this. The focus on others starting with Thanksgiving and running until New Year’s where many people transform to a more selfless, more friendly, more kind, and generally much nicer version of themselves. People give. People assist one another. People give of themselves and their blessings. People are nicer and maybe just a little slower to ire. People look past the otherwise mundane tasks of daily life and participate in them with a spring in their step and a song in their hearts. Well maybe not that last one but it would be nice. So if many can grin and bear it for a couple of weeks, or a couple of days, or even for a couple of hours, then why not make this last. As TSO sings every year in their Christmas show … If our kindness; This day is just pretending; If we pretend long enough; Never giving up; It just might be who we are (at 4:25) … if we can do it once, we can do it for always.
So why doesn’t it last? There’s just 13 days left until Christmas 2011. Where is your Christmas Spirit? Many would say there’s only 13 days left!!!! I will never get everything done! Others may say, good, I can’t wait for it to be over. I say, enjoy the moments, be present in each of them. Presents under the tree are nice, they have their value, but being present in each moment is priceless.
Get lost in the Christmas Spirit. As your body rushes through the next baker’s dozen cluster of days keep your mind focused on the Christmas Spirit I have defined here. Christmas Spirit doesn’t rush, it hurries not, it’s always at just the right speed. The pace is consistently correct for there is no time limit on selflessness. There is no rushing a thought of what can I do to help someone else. There is only time where mind and body come together in harmony while focused on something or someone bigger than themselves. Some how we will find the time to be the selfless person we aim to be in this season, there’s always time for that. Come to think of it, there’s no reason for this thought process or approach to life to go away in December either. I mean what better way to start 2012 than with a transformation to full-time Christmas Spirit.
The snow may not be falling yet. There is green grass in plain sight. Winter is still around the corner. There’s only 13 days left until Christmas. By late afternoon the sky is dark as night. The temperatures dip below freezing each night. It really is Christmas time. The lights are hung everywhere. Crowds shop at stores and malls. Trains take a temporary place closer to our hearts. Christmas cards come in the mail. Christmas music plays at every turn. Where’s your Christmas Spirit?
Maybe, take a morning walk. Feel the crisp air challenge your lungs for the next breath. Notice the sparkle of ice crystals that catches your eye as your gaze sweeps the calm early morning landscape. Follow the cloud your breath makes until it fades away. Think back on your favorite Christmas memories. Why is it a favorite, was it your mindset at that time, or was it someone else’s generous act that takes you there? Ask yourself, Am I the man/woman I want to be? Am I all I can be, not just today, but everyday? Be honest. Let your mind fill with the dozens or more thoughts that almost instantaneously battle for your conscious focus if you are being true to yourself. It’s just you out there, walking on your own, getting down to the core of you. Don’t be afraid. I mean, God is there too, He is always there, whether you are alone or not, so just let it flow. Don’t forget to watch your step as you let these thoughts flow over you like the warmth you feel when you are the reason for someone else’s joy. Lose yourself in the feeling, the moment. Vow to be somehow different this Christmas; to be better, the person you want to be, as you expose your deepest, most vulnerable core. It should be OK. If others in your life might disapprove of this new vow you found inside yourself in the quiet of the morning, then perhaps the time has come to take a personnel inventory. Or at least recognize that the people in your past or present may not belong in your future. We can talk about that another time. Before you go back inside, index the thoughts that flooded your mind and battled for precedence. Promise yourself you will be different somehow. Different in the ways you only know you can be. And, yes, you can be. There’s only 13 days to Christmas, and tomorrow morning makes 12, Where’s your Christmas Spirit?