In some ways, I guess it’s good that 2020 has flown by. However, the speed with which the years pass grows more and more daunting as I age. Now well into my 7th decade, it seems like I’ve just finished putting the Christmas decorations away, and I’m having to think about getting them out again. I can remember the youthful days when a year actually felt like a year.
Life has become a merry-go-round ride that spins from one Holiday Season to the next. Sometimes it seems like I’m forever trying to figure out what to put under the tree (and stressing over how I’m going to pay for it).
Last year was a very odd Christmas for our family, though I tried hard to make it seem as normal as possible. All along, I thought then that “next year” we would have a Christmas more like we’re used to, with the unsettling changes of 2019 behind us. However, 2020 sure did have other plans for us. Things are more surreal than ever, and I am struggling to regain some sense of equilibrium as I look ahead to December 25th.
Christmas preparation always starts, for me, in the beginning of November (if not before). Since I enjoy yarn crafts, I’ve started knitting and crocheting well in advance of other holiday shopping. Yarn is needed, and ordered, early, and these old hands start making Christmas while we’re still looking at Halloween decorations (and eating all the candy bought for the trick-or-treaters that never come this far up into the hills).
This year we are also dealing with the pandemic and all of the disturbances that it has thrown into the world. I have done most of my shopping online for years, so I suppose my routine hasn’t been as disrupted as that of many, but I find myself stressing about the things I can’t do from my living room. I don’t think I’ve been in a supermarket since July. Buying the ingredients for Thanksgiving dinner, the makings for my Christmas cranberry breads, and restocking my wrapping supplies will be a challenge.
With so many people shopping online since this health crisis began, I keep thinking that I should start my main Christmas shopping now, just to be sure things will arrive in a timely manner. And the bounty under the tree will have to suffer some scaling back, as COVID-19 has affected the finances, as well.
None of these changes, of course, are unique to our household. Everyone has been in some way affected by the year called Twenty Twenty.
And yet, Christmas is coming. It always does. Somehow, it arrives, and it brings its light and its blessings. Christmas morning comes, and eyes shine like the lights on the tree, and laughter rings like carols through the air. The stress will be behind us as we enjoy one another’s company, and just set aside all of the worries of the year for that one magical day.
This year, my prayer is that the magic of that special day will carry us through into the coming year, and that, as 2021 advances, it sheds the worries of its predecessor and shines its light on a better, brighter, and kinder future. Then, in a seeming heartbeat from now, perhaps we’ll be getting ready for a Christmas that can look back on more smiles than tears.