I’m having trouble finding the Christmas Spirit this year. It all started with a trip to Target.
I was recently part of an Early Response Team in New Jersey. I spent 3 days working in the name of God. Throwing families personal possessions to the curb for the back hoe to dump into the semi headed for Pennsylvania’s land-fills; ripping out the floors, walls and souls of well loved homes, and mucking through black sludge in a hazmat suit not really wanting to know what that smell was.
Upon my return I desperately needed razor blades. As I walked into Target that morning I was immediately struck by the intensity of the lights in the place and the absurdity of the muzak humming in the background. I have made jokes about being a “Stepford Wife” in the past, but this time I REALLY felt like one. So much so that it made my stomach retch. The copious quantities of crap that assaulted my eyes as I walked to the health care aisles offended my sense of being. I picked up my pace, grabbed my $15 4-pack of Venus cartridges and fled to the great outdoors.
In the parking lot I stood, waiting for my head to stop spinning. Breathing – panting at first actually. But eventually my breath returned. I went home and showered.
Two weeks later and my home is the warm, cozy winter retreat that it always is – some decorations up, roaring fires in the evenings and gentle music to soothe away the day. But I still don’t have a tree up and I’ve only casually considered Christmas Cards. And baking? Really not happening.
But in this moment that all seems OK. Maybe I really have found the spirit this year that I never really had before. Advent is about waiting, finding the joy, feeling the love and welcoming the child. A light is burning in me, just casting a different glow this year. A softer one. A glow found in the anticipation of something new: the love, peace and serenity of a clean-shaven life.