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Let's slow down the holiday season

Posted: December 14, 2014 - 12:16am

I’m not one to lurch headlong from turkey on the Thanksgiving table to tinsel on the Christmas tree. I desire – I require – four weeks of breathing room. Advent aids digestion of the sweet potato soufflé of the former holiday and piques the appetite for the Christ child central to the next.

So that the people with whom I live don’t get rowdy and rush things, pressuring me to dress the piano in snow village real estate and to corral a collection of nutcrackers on the mantel, I emphasize the pregame season. I stress the call for prayer and charitable acts and more prayer on top of that to prepare our hearts for the Twelve Days of
Christmas.

We must exercise self-control in the face of the world wrapping itself in lights and selling us on the idea that peace on earth is gained through shop ‘til you drop then drag your decorations to the attic on Dec.
26.

There’s a whole lot of praying going on around here. All four offspring pray that my minivan will fa-la-la apart by New Year’s Day.

My husband prays I won’t send him on a mission to cut down a Christmas tree on the public right-of-way. I pray that the dollars in my gift budget will replicate like loaves and fishes.

My 13-year-old daughter has caught the Advent spirit. She says she can’t even think about Christmas yet. She’s modified our Advent calendar to count down the days of school remaining until her holiday break.

“Why?” I ask. “So you can sit on the sofa and listen to me fuss at you about sitting on the sofa?”

She smiles and a dreamy look invades her hazel eyes. “That’s the good life,” she almost whispers. It’s a prayer. God hears her.

Her oldest brother prays for a passing grade in College Algebra I. The answer to his prayer may demand a charitable act by his instructor.

I’ve encouraged him to speak with her about the elements of Advent. And to study, of course.

My 17-year-old son prays he will pick out a good gift for his girlfriend when he goes on his Dec.24 shopping spree. I may need to counsel him to dial back denial. The season of Advent is finite. Christmas will come. Wise men know that.

The 15-year-old son prays every day that no one will remember that it’s his turn to do the dishes. His unceasing prayer is admirable.

As a blessing on our devotion, the elf has yet to show up on the shelf. I’m suspicious.

It’s not like her to leave us alone for so long. Maybe, after years of messing with my Advent emotions, Santa, in his charity, didn’t send her. Guilt for ill feelings toward the sprite squeak around the edges of my
glee.

This is why Advent is an important stretch of time in the Christian calendar. It gives elf-haters a chance to get our hearts and minds in the right place.

It gives us a chance to get our houses in order for welcoming the Word made flesh on Dec. 25, for celebrating Emmanuel, God among us.

Bah-humbugs like me need this time, because without Him, we are shallow creatures desperately searching boxes of ornaments, aisles of stores, packed parties of people for the hope that only He can bring.

Lucy Adams is the author of Dog on the Run and other books for children and adults. She lives in Thomson, GA. Email Lucy at lucybgoosey@aol.com.

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