Being an artsy person, the holidays roll around and I just start getting all Martha-Stewart-inspired to have things perfect. The perfect decor. The perfect food. The perfect bakes. The perfect wardrobe. The perfect gifts. Heck! The perfect wrapping on those gifts.
Everywhere we look we see photo-shopped images of sheer holiday perfection, leading us to believe we can pull off what a high-quality camera lens, a few product designers and dozens of little minions in the background do to make that moment happen. In reality, its a set up for disappointment if you ask me. I have been there too many times, too many years.
There's traveling to be had, families to eat, drink and be merry with. You feel the urge to get in touch with all those friends, via parties, greeting cards or gift giving. As the weeks and days count down for Christmas, we honestly don't know how to squeeze in another place to be and another social engagement.
I yearn so much for a genuine experience, rich with tradition and sincerity. I find it fulfilling teaching many fun classes where I get to see memories being made, and laughs and smiles on all the faces. Just this season, I believe we have made over 50 twiggy reindeer in classes! I am a part of secret keeping, making special gifts appear under the tree and fun surprises I can share with all of you. It is very rewarding, but I find myself running up until the very hour of Christmas and feeling breathless as I try to put together the "perfect" holiday for my family.
Sitting in church, stressed by this tug in my heart, I listened as we sang the sixth and seventh verses of "O Come O Come Emmanuel"
O come, O Bright and Morning Star,
and bring us comfort from afar!
Dispel the shadows of the night
and turn our darkness into light.
O come, O King of nations, bind
in one the hearts of all mankind.
Bid all our sad divisions cease
and be yourself our King of Peace.
I began to think about all the things that dwell in my heart at this time of year... of winter, solstice, Christmas, family, traditions and faith. It was like I looked up at the night sky and these brilliant and dazzling stars suddenly started to form a constellation, connecting their solitary beauty into a story.
So much of my world revolves around seasons as a farmer, and when you are one with the land, you try to seek out the lessons it holds for you. Though we are sad to see the bounty of fall go, winter is our time for rest and reflection. It is really a welcomed season in its own serenity and solitude. Welcoming us into winter, is the beauty of Advent. It really illuminates the dark winter days ahead. It gives us the joyfulness of celebration, and the wonderful traditions we know and love. It opens our hearts to the winter months ahead.
When I realized this, I began to see how Christmas is really the beginning of a time to nurture our hearts and souls and the ones we love around us. It's not over December 25th. The glow lasts through the winter months til the Earth begins to thaw and grow again with Spring. It's a way of life for us, and somewhere along the way we've lost that perspective a bit.
This year, I've already felt the joy of carrying the awe of Advent forward into the dark winter months. I'm hoping it means more time in my studio, with other creative souls and to dream a little bit. So while the Earth is quiet and restful, my soul shall be too. Merry Christmas! May the awe of Advent be yours to cherish.