‘Twas a month before Christmas, and all through the house
All our decorations were up, and I didn’t even rouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
Even though a year ago, the kids wouldn’t dare.
We’re knee-deep in the Christmas spirit at our house, even though I haven’t touched the Christmas spirits yet. The tree’s up, the decorations are throughout the house, and even our outdoor lights are already up.
This is despite my long-held belief that we shouldn’t do any decorating until after Advent begins, usually the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Sometimes I’ll bend and allow it the Saturday of the Ohio State-Michigan game, a whopping one day before Advent starts. Some years, the outdoor lights never go up at all if it’s too nippy to climb the ladder and hang a wreath above the garage door.
I’ve always complained about the consumerism that pushes the Christmas shopping season from the day after Halloween clear through Dec. 24, yet no one wants to maintain the Christmas spirit a minute past midnight on Dec. 26. I don’t want to get tired of the season, after all.
So why would 2020 be any different? Because 2020 has been completely different.
Between the kids learning from home in the spring to limited travel to wearing masks everywhere we go, this year is just different than any other I’ve lived.
Heck, I recently went to pick up some groceries my wife ordered on an app while wearing a black coat, a black mask and dark sunglasses. No one looked suspiciously at me, even if I looked like a little like Marv from “Home Alone” (the Daniel Stern robber, not the Joe Pesci one).
People are putting their hope in Christmas to cheer them up and to help break the funk that the virus has put over moods in the past nine months. Who am I to be the Grinch in this situation?
I hope they realize the real gift isn’t hiding in one of those colorfully wrapped boxes. It’s hidden in that manger. That child, Jesus, is the reason any of us can have hope during hopeless times. It’s that knowledge that ultimately anything we go through has a purpose, as long as we spend our lives in service to God and, by extension, others.
Sure, I would like to see an end to our virus worries and a resumption of life in general. But I appreciate the unique opportunity all this has given us to grow closer as a family, building more inside jokes and a better understanding for each other at an age when my daughters become teenagers and want to be with their friends instead of us.
I can appreciate that as much as they grow up, they still need us. Our children did much of the indoor decorating, yet they still couldn’t reach the top of the artificial Christmas tree to place our topper on it. Like I have every Christmas before, I helped them out to put it on there, the reminder for me about why we celebrate together in the first place.