Before you start telling me about how wonderful the Christmas season is, believe me – I know. It's my favorite holiday season, just as autumn is my favorite season of the year.
But this year, it seems a bit more distant than usual. Autumn felt the same. My two favorite times of the year seemed to take forever to arrive this year, yet they have come and (in the case of Christmas, nearly) gone without much more than a whisper of my usual joy.
In autumn's case, the dissonance between this year and previous autumns lies in the delayed cooling of the weather (and our cold snap coming before Halloween). I also didn't have as much of a boost in my creative drive as I usually do. I made one cross stitch sampler and a pair of fingerless gloves this year (the former for Samwise's room, the latter out of necessity).
Normally, I'm bouncing from project to project in the fall, both craft and writing. This year, not so much. Part of that probably comes from anticipating Samwise's arrival and our recent move. Now that I'm driving 40 minutes each way twice a day, there's a little less time in the day for leisure.
Don't get me wrong, the move was a good one, and in some ways necessary. But the shorter hours for writing, making, and reading are one side-effect of the move I'm still adjusting to.
But Christmas. Christmas is a season I hardly ever have to strive to be in the spirit. It's like putting on my fingerless gloves – muscle memory, hardly any thought. It just happens. I have to resist the urge to listen to Christmas music all year long (and I don't always resist). I love buying gifts for friends and family, and eagerly look forward to receiving my assignment for this year's Secret Santa months before we even put our names in the hat. I begin working on narration and drama for the church Christmas production no later than August. Christmas is at the heart of me. But some days this year I've felt a little too much like this Relient K song:
Now that we're 6 sleeps away from Christmas, I'm finally asking why it has felt so distant this year. And the answers came more quickly than I anticipated.
I'm a father of a two-month-old. That's new, and wonderful, and something we're all still adjusting to. (As a side note, Samwise loves staring at the lights on our Christmas tree; sometimes me rocking him near the tree is all that will calm him – and other times it has no effect. Babies. ;) )
I haven't been involved in the church Christmas as much as usual. In fact, all I did this year was write the narration, give a little direction, and let my wonderful drama team handle it. And handle it they did. Better than I could have hoped.
We haven't been in church as much, period. We've been to services twice in the last two months, slowly easing our way back into attendance because babies are fickle and immunosensitive and such. It's been great to be back the days we've been, but there's still a gap in our worship time I'm hoping we will bridge soon.
Life is just a little crazier than usual. We're celebrating with our parents and my brother and his fiancée this weekend. Then we're heading south for that same brother's wedding to said fiancée next weekend. There have been extra trips (which are bigger endeavors with a baby on board) and there are still changes to our schedules and lives we're figuring out post-Samwise.
All that to say, I'm trying to find the joy of Christmas I've been missing. Seeing the choir and drama team perform yesterday lifted my spirits a great deal. I expect that this weekend will do much the same as we celebrate on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with family, church family, and friends. Sometimes, it pays to just rock and watch the lights go by. Sometimes the small moments make up the bigger experience.
Has anyone else experienced a strange shift in their experience and enjoyment of Christmas this year?