Let’s not hurry too much. Originally written several years ago, this desire comes back to me annually. Time goes quickly enough. And while I love the holidays, I am so aware that finding time and space to be grateful is the perfect preparation for all that is to come. Thanks for reading!
Laying in the middle of my living room is a Gryffindor cape. The still-green-stick that was crafted into a wand lays abandoned nearby. On the very top of the cabinet in the dining room sits a big bowl of undistributed candy with two treat-filled pillowcases alongside. None of it is in reach of any of us because if we can reach it, our golden doodle can do the same.
Halloween still hangs heavy in the air. The smokey smell of campfires and the spicy scent of pumpkin baked goods rises up to meet us each time we come inside. My kids are sleep-deprived from late, fun nights and we are carrying crispy autumn leaves in on our clothes like parasites clinging to their host.
It is fall. And everything here tells that tale.
So, if you sat up late on Halloween night and watched the cozy autumn commercials turn downright festive, let me bring you back to an important, overlooked truth. It is not Christmas yet. And this is a very good thing.
I love the holidays deeply. The family time and gift giving make me smile. I love to hear the story of Jesus’ birth and have a long 4 weeks to revel in the hope found there. But it is not time now and the month that lays before us has a purpose we can too easily overlook.
Because here’s the thing…
The craziness of fall is only just beginning to wind down. We are finding helpful rhythms that structure our days. But, if you are like me, you know a weariness has begun to settle in. The cloudy days of October and the homework, sports teams, and family stuff has filled our days and left us running from one thing to the next. Yes, we are breathless and we desperately need a pause.
One way to do that is to sit together with our children nearby and let ourselves see well the many ways we have been blessed. We need take the time to say thank you, to feel gratitude and to allow all of this overlooked-goodness to encourage us to notice ways we might help someone else. And we need to lead our littles do the same.
When we walk through a room that is a veritable minefield of toys, we need to see both the wonder of creative provision and the possibility of blessing another, even from our overflow.
When we sit down to eat a meal, we need to pause and notice that even when the budget is tight, there is something to eat and water to drink and dry, warm place to be. Not five miles from where you sit today, there are folks who cannot say the same.
When we fall exhausted into bed each night, parented-out and pooped, we need to whisper thanks to the God who both gave us these children to love and to raise and offered us the energy to get the job done on this. one. day.
It is full of wonder, the minutiae we see. And it is worth taking time to rest in the goodness we can find right there. As the holidays take over and rush us forth, it will become easier and easier to miss the gifts we have been given in ordinary time.
I do not want that to be my choice.
There is beauty to be found in Christmas and am looking forward to when the holidays begin. But the truth is that returning our many plastic jack o’lanterns to the attic does not mark the beginning of Advent. It has not come and it is not time and no holly-jolly commercial can force us to begin before we are ready. This month, let’s regroup. Let’s soak up the beauty we already have and inhale, intentionally allowing the season of Thanksgiving to be what it is meant to be. Because if I told the truth about my own life, I am far more blessed than I see most days… This month, we are invited to see, to notice, to revel in the goodness we have been given.
So open another a Reeses and pull your kiddos close. We have time… and we can spend it well. Let’s make room for gratitude before commercialism has its way and maybe… just maybe… knowing how blessed we already are might impact how we choose to celebrate the holidays this year.
Breathe a minute because this is true.
The wonder is coming and it will be amazing but on this day, let’s look around and give good thanks. Because, it is not Christmas yet.