I am very much in the holiday mood, maybe more so than I’ve ever been in my life. I am excited for the holidays. All of them.
So often I am afraid the holidays will be stressful or lonely, but not this year. For so many years before I met Shah, I was always sad that another year was gone and I was still alone without someone special. I am more “special relationship” free than I have ever been in my life, but I feel completely different this Christmas. I am no longer discontent with my present because I’m hoping for something in the future. My person has come and gone, so I’m just in the here and now. Contentment in the present is key to so much in life.
Neither worry for our future or longing for the past can change anything. I know I’ll have a few bouts of tears for what could have been if he were still alive, but somehow, this year, the lights, the music and the cheer are keeping me my present where I have a delightful daughter and will soon have a very decorated house.
When I say “holiday” I mean “holiday.” I am not talking about Advent and Christmas. I’m sure I’ll write more about them later. In this post, I’m really talking about this ‘winter is coming’ holiday season. I used to think it was a time of year that was cold and dark. Now I see it as cozy. Shah taught me that.
I want a tree this year, covered in lights. I’ll call it a Christmas tree, for lack of a better word, but it has nothing to do with Christmas. I want warm apple cider with candles burning. Chocolates and jingle-bells. Brisk walks through the holiday lights, parties, and hot cocoa.
The holiday season doesn’t have to start after Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a Holiday. And none of these things are really related to the birth of the Savior, so that they have to be saved. They are related to the holiday season, and my holiday season has already started. We have a fun agenda for the next few weeks and I want to delight in it with the same gusto as my wide-eyed toddler.
I’m looking forward to the Live Nativity and the Nutcracker, more trips to see the lights at Marietta Square, and the Smyrna Market Village tree lighting.
Yes, the special season of Christmas starts December 25th, and I will observe the anticipatory waiting of Advent very intentionally. But season changes can be very hard for those who are grieving. It seems like just as you start to feel normal in a season without your missing person, you have to enter a new season without them. The first of fall was tough, but while the waves of grief have slowed, I’m going to enjoy all the fun this coming holiday season has to offer.
It crossed my mind, while I was thinking of nothing in particular, that if Shah had had time to ask a question as he was dying he would have wanted to know that Zoya and I would be happy and still enjoy the good in our remaining days. I’m sure he understand our pain and tears, but he wants us to find the light that will overcome the darkness. Of course, Jesus is that light ultimately, but because we have that ultimate hope, we can enjoy the simple delights of this festive season.
I pray you too can find excitement in the moment. Don’t confuse the characters, presents, parties and lights for true Christmas; but still enjoy them for the cheer they bring.