Sunday, December 01, 2019

Sunday Afternoon Tea - The Holiday Ho Hums

“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity 

This year I have gone from being excited about Christmas to feeling completely depressed... all in the same hour.  When we were experiencing a week of early snowfall, I was ready to pull out the Christmas decorations early and here it is the first of December and I can't get enough Christmas spirit to put up the tree.

I will, though.  Probably on Monday.  I have learned through the years that it is wise not to force the Christmas cheer on myself when I have lost my ho ho ho.  I mean, really... I don't want to be Scrooge but on the other hand... why mask the feelings of a little Holiday blues.  They are also a part of the season for a lot of people.

When I make out my Holiday list each year of things I want to accomplish (see last week's Sunday Afternoon Tea post), it shows the reality of changing circumstances that come with the passing of the years.  Much like the winter snowflakes, no two Christmas seasons are the same. 

There are years that have been completely wonderful from Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve.  There were years when smiles had to be forced for such things as illness, death of loved ones, or job losses do not take a vacation because it is the month of December.  I have found that most Christmas seasons have fallen in the middle with both joy and challenges occurring at the same time.

Earlier this week, I was listening to a program on television about C. S. Lewis and the above quote was discussed.  I have long loved that quote but I thought of it anew this year from the perspective of the Holiday season.  How easy it is this time of year to realize the reality that Christmas can be enjoyable but it will always leave us short of our expectations.

I think it is this... I associate the Christmas season as the closest thing to Heaven this side of Eternity.  I love the lights and the sparkle and the joy of giving.  I especially love how the most secular of programs proclaim the birth of Jesus in the form of Christmas carols.  I can think of no other time of the year when Jesus is announced as often in secular media.

Is it any wonder that our emotions can become a roller coaster in December for we are seeing glimpses of what Eternity will be like one day and just as suddenly we are brought back to the reality of living in a fallen world.

How does one fight the good fight this time of year?  How can I stop comparing what is now to what will only be found Someday?  I'm still working on that answer, especially as I am making a list and checking it twice... and three times... and four times... etcetera.

Well, just as I wrote last week, I am working out priorities for both time and my budget.  I have enjoyed some old favorite Hallmark Christmas movies in November and while I will still watch a few here and there, once I get into December I turn my attention to the music of Christmas.  

I will reread two or three favorite Christmas books.  I took Nigel Slater's beautiful Christmas Chronicles off the shelf to continue reading this year.  I had to stop due to eye troubles last December.  Reading small print is a challenge but overall, reading is much more doable since the surgery. 

I am also going to listen to the Christmas Chronicles podcast this year... all of it this time.  Rumor is that the podcast is available again this year.  Slater is quite secular but oh my, his writing reminds me of the beauty found not only in Christmas but during the season of winter.

I have a doctor's appointment this week and while I am on that side of town, I plan to stop by Barnes & Noble to peruse Christmas issues of British magazines and have a cup of coffee.  There is something about that store during the Holidays that brings joy to my soul.  Could it be the combination of sparkle, books, and caffeine?  Could be...

A simple item crossed off my list already was to dry orange slices to use as decorations.  My home had a slight aroma of orange all day yesterday as they were drying on the lowest temperature in my oven.  They are now ready for when I do finally decorate.

I will think of two or three "must do" items for Christmas 2019.  I think they will most likely have something to do with food.  Whether at home or at a restaurant... time will tell.

One thing I do know this Christmas, I appreciate the blog friends I have made throughout the years.  Someday we will be in that other world that Lewis writes about and there we will meet face to face as long time old friends.

I hope you find your sparkle this week.

Mentioned in this Blog Post
The book Christmas Chronicles... info here.
The podcast Christmas Chronicles... info here to listen online.  It can also be downloaded wherever you find podcasts.

Image: Winter Scene


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much. We tend to pressure ourselves to have a perfect, merry Christmas like in the magazines but that isn't always possible. I've found that in the un-merry holiday seasons (if there's been serious illness or death) it's best not to pressure yourself. Just do what you can and enjoy what you can.

Vee said...

Now I have never thought of it that way before...that our expectations are as high as heaven itself and yet we are constantly snapped back to this fallen world. That could give a gal whiplash.

It has taken me an entire week to decorate the tree. It sat there looking dark and gloomy for days. Today I told myself that it.would.get.done, but I fell asleep in my chair and lost several good hours. ☺️ I must learn to function within the realities of my circumstances...this fallen world.

Hang in there, Brenda. The gloomies will go, the joy will begin to percolate in our souls, and the sparkling will ensue. (I certainly hope that this is true for us all.)

Carol said...

I am finding this year that it is taking me longer to decorate and get ready for the holiday. It is usually up before Thanksgiving except for the tree and I have not done much this year. I love the holidays but now that we are empty nesters (although one daughter lives next door with the grand doll) I just seem to not quite be in the spirit that I normally am.

Deanna Rabe said...

A certain melancholy that I live with has been in a Funk, and I found my joy of the season sorely tested yesterday. I am continuing to choose joy and to delight in the season!

Catsngrams said...

I too have not put up my tree. Christmas is so rushed now days that I just stay home and make what I can and give to family. I look at the black Friday spending and thinks to myself WHY?
I guess I am just getting old. But to tell the truth I really like where I am at.


Kay said...

I get it. Oh how I get it! For the past few years I had to Make myself do Christmas. It was a sacrifice of praise to even sing the Christmas hymns & carols in church. I did all the things a mom has to do and was so relieved when it was all over.
God only knows the reason why this year I am excited about the holidays. Even spending 12 hours in the kitchen on Thanksgiving basically making the meal by myself didn't dim the sparkle (too much. I'll admit I had maybe 1 or 2 tense moments.)
I don't know why God has opened my eyes this year and didn't other years or what was veiling my spirit. Life certainly isn't much easier and even a bit harder in some areas. All I know is my heart is easier this year and singing/speaking His praise is often on my lips.
Hold on Friend. He understands such seasons. Just keep holding onto His hand.
Thank you for your blog. It is a true blessing.
PS I downloaded the Christmas Chronicles tonight for some listening in the car. I bought the book last year at your suggestion.
Kay in Nebraska

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

I hope you find your sparkle, Brenda....And the joy of Christmas. My son was very ill but came home from the hospital yesterday and I am so overjoyed for this. Still in Thanksgiving mode, but I think we need that all year and perhaps especially at Christmas. Blessings for you and all your family.

Suzan said...

I love to read honesty and yes Christmas can be quite difficult. Christmas in Australia is generally very hot. A lot of families have a seafood feast but I have life threatening seafood allergies so compromise has to happen. There will be prawns (shrimp) but they will be eaten outside while the rest of the meal is prepped. I truly dislike the images and songs of white Christmases. Once it would be lovely and I am sure it would be so enjoyable. But why when the temperature is above body heat d o we have to sing about Chestnuts roasting by a fire, or sleigh bells ringing etc?

I hope you find enough energy and spirit to get through the preparation stages. God bless.

Margie from Toronto said...

I am actually reading that C.S. Lewis book at the moment!

Keri said...

Oh, this really hits home! I have a sweet teen-aged daughter struggling with OCD, anxiety, and depression, and while she's seeing a wonderful Christian therapist who has her on the right track, she's still in the early stages of treatment. She wants so badly to embrace the season, but the darkness of her emotional issues keeps trying to snuff out the light. I keep reminding her that Advent is all about yearning for the light in the midst of the darkness, and that's what we're trying to do together.

I'm sorry that you're not feeling yourself right now, and I'm going to pray as soon as I hit "Publish" that the Lord breathes joy into your spirit!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Brenda. Prayers for Keri and her sweet daughter.
deb h

Colleen said...

Thank you, Brenda! I look so forward to your posts and this one is just what I needed tonight. Thank you for the mention of the Christmas Chronicles podcast. I don't know how I've missed it before. It's downloading right now! Blessings, Colleen in Indiana