The mall's sign flashed, "Only 7 shopping days until Christmas!!" And I remembered that it doesn't even feel like Christmas. Minus the fact that most days it is above 70 degrees here, (excluding this lovely day, with only a high of 62!) there are many years that it doesn't "feel" like Christmas. And it hasn't really felt that way since I left for college. Before that, I could count on being at home, sleeping in and eating lots of baked goods, for the entire Christmas break. I could count on the fam being together, eating breakfast casserole on Christmas morning, and getting cool presents. THIS certainly felt like Christmas. And going to Christmas Eve communion, I can't forget this. This was the ultimate unifying experience, to go kneel at the altar and being given the most amazing opportunity to take the body and the blood.
I'm a bit disheartened that this was Christmas, that my feeling came from presents and lights and cozyness. I am not suggesting that being with those you love isn't Christmas--it is certainly a part of it, celebrating love and family. I just don't think it's the point of it all.
But now, that feeling doesn't come around. I'm not really sad about it. I'm just in search of the new feeling--the Advent feeling. Christmas begins to mean something different when you read the "7 shopping days" from inside your car in morning traffic, instead of reading it from inside the department stores. Christmas means something different when you don't have much money to buy presents and when you are reminded that God came as a baby and put on flesh.
A friend posted once that she's always in search of a certain feeling. I guess we all are, even if that isn't right to do. But sitting in traffic this morning, I confess, I wanted it to feel like Christmas. I wanted to drive around and look at lights and be cozy and unwrap some gifts with family and have Christmas back once again.
And I want Advent, too, I really do. This anticipation should be stronger. God sending a son--his son--to bridge a gap, that's something to be excited about.
Only 7 shopping days. I better hurry and find the feeling.