As soon as they said there was one less week this year between Thanksgiving and Christmas I knew I was doomed. I will never get everything done in time was my immediate thought. So much to do......
I have shopped but not finished. I ordered Christmas cards that haven't even been shipped yet. We thought about having a party and a week after Thanksgiving I threw in the towel on that idea. I am trying to keep on top of holiday chores, work, the house, the laundry and the finances and have failed at all of them. Three nights in a row we were invited to some kind of holiday event and I was so happy, not because we would be spending time with people we love but because I didn't have to cook dinner. I have written one crappy paragraph of the Christmas letter I have sent out for twenty years. The dog can barely get up and my heart knows it is time for him to move on, yet I do nothing about that either.
I miss my dad.
Twenty three years since he's been here for Christmas and this year has knocked me for a loop. I have watched interviews with parents of kids killed at Sandy Hook and I still can't believe that happened in this country and we did nothing about it. I see commercial after commercial that caters to the affluent in such a way it feels obscene to me. I wonder how typhoon misplaced people in the Phillippines are doing but that news has been replaced with November retail sales figures.
I am searching for the joy.
A few weeks ago we went to the funeral of a friend. He was 53 and died of brain cancer. I have never been to a funeral with so many people which goes to show you how many lives he touched. The loss of him to his wife and sons is enormous.. The community he was a part of will feel his absence in profound ways.
The minister was a friend of his and said to the mournful congregation ......."Death did not claim him. Cancer did not claim him. God said this man is mine and I claim him. I have prepared a room for him and he is mine. He is coming home to my house."
A funeral will make you think about a lot of things. A beautiful funeral for a good man will make you want to change a lot of things.
While my own holiday spirit does more ebbing than flowing this year, I keep circling back to the words of that minister and think of my own dad. Like the friend gone too soon, neither cancer nor death claimed him. God did and that thought has given me peace. He was always his and nobody lived a life more ready for The Day than my Dad.
If I could wrap peace in a box and tie a ribbon around it I would give it to everyone I know. The mall and the aisles of Target are crappy substitutes for the gift that most people desperately want. Before long Christmas Eve will be here and everything that needed to be done will be. Or not. My restless, worried mind will relax and if nothing else the pressure to provide the perfect holiday will have dissipated.
I will tether my soul to the Prince of Peace once again.
I will sing Joy To The World.......
.......and I will mean it.