This year has felt different to me. I'm just not in the spirit of things. There's a melancholy dwelling in my heart and I can't find my Joy.
I've decorated, wrapped presents (all but what I wrap Christmas Eve night), sent out Christmas cards and today and the rest of this week I'll be tackling treats for family and friends.
I feel like I'm running behind (though I feel like that all the time anymore), but Christmas will be upon us in five days. Count 'em- 5 days!
I'm still not in the mood for it and in all honesty, will be glad when it's over. How sad is that? Normally I enjoy the holiday, but this year, I'm far from filled with Whoville jubilation...no...I'm feeling a little Grinchy- like before his heart grew three sizes that day...
Last night, as I lay down to sleep, I started thinking about what this time of year means to me, especially since I'm feeling down and wanted to give myself things to renew my hope and happiness. I thought about this year's lack of joy in my heart, but also all the years past...
And my conclusion is LOVE.
At the heart of December is Love.
Love for our families, our friends, and sometimes even strangers.
December, for the most part, can be summed up to that.
It's at the heart of the matter, regardless of what holiday you celebrate in this last month of the year.
It's about all the things that mean love to us. For me, it's my family, my friends, my cat.
It's the bite of cold in the air that sinks into your bones as the snow falls and the warmth of hearth and home, a welcoming escape from the blustery winds. It's the hush that falls over the world when snow blankets the ground and coats the trees. It's hot cocoa and sugar cookies. It's the glow and twinkle of the tree and ornaments and sparkly garland. It's the light in your kids' eyes when they see the tree fully decorated the first time, or when they sight a house decked out like Snoopy's doghouse with lights.
It's doing things to bring a smile to another person's face, to fill their hearts with some gladness. It's good food and treats, it's time spent with those we care about. It's missing those who can't be with us, but remembering them just the same.
And that made me wonder why December is the only time of year when we show this kind of love for our fellow man, woman, child, etc. Why do we only extend a helping hand or a kind word NOW?
I suspect that we do this because the year is coming to a close and all the rest of the year has been consumed with worrying about the things that go on in our own little circles.
This year has been rather shoddy for my family- we've had car troubles and had to fix the one car we had and ended up buying another one, too. My husband has had health issues that we're still dealing with, including his recent knee surgery a little over a week ago. I've not been myself this year (turning 35 did something to me psychologically LOL) and so I've been struggling with personal emotional issues that aren't resolved- just buried at the moment. I'm still having a hard time getting my head back into my writing, which only leaves me feeling void, unable to fill the emptiness with something that brings me joy.
But that brings me back to why December seems to be the time to show compassion and love and care for those outside the boundaries of our routine lifestyles.
Why does December seem to be the ONLY month where we give ourselves permission to slow down, to visit with others, to care about them? Why is it the time of year we shrug off that cloak we use to isolate ourselves? But more importantly, why is this kindness and consideration only dragged out with the decorations, as though we pack it in after the holidays and save it up for next December?
The icy fingers of winter creep in and in their own way, they force warmth into us- encourage us to warm toward others in a way no other time of the year does. I guess that's why. As cold as December can be, it fills us with a warmth that emanates outward in our behavior and our lives. It works as a magnet, drawing us all together. It draws us together in love, and that's truly at the heart of it...