I have done little small things to make the season go by more slowly. In October Scott and I figured out a budget for Christmas gifts. We decided to make homemade gifts for the vast majority of friends and family. I bought a couple extra things as well and then on November 28th (Miracles of miracles) my Christmas shopping was done. Check.
We also decided not to get a tree since we won't be here for Christmas but will be spending it with my family in Oklahoma. One less thing to do. The problem though is I LOVE Christmas. I love all of it. The cinnamon and peppermint smells. Reading the Christmas story over and over again. The cracking fireplace. Christmas cards coming in the mail. The cozy sweaters. The holiday parties. The shopping. THE GIFTS. I will be 88 years old and will love gifts like a 10 year old kid love gifts. Somewhere though despite my love for it all, I get utterly loss beneath the consumerism and the never-ending to-do list, and the cultural pressures. By the time December 26th rolls around I realize how exhausted I am and how desperately I need some time to myself.
Time does not slow down unless I make it slow down. What can I do to actually hear Christmas inside myself? Like actually hear the good news in my soul. This is why I decided to give myself a small but powerful challenge. I believe that the habits I cultivate daily create the kind of life i want often more then the big bang decisions that I so often look towards. Every day for the month of December I will dedicate 10 minutes of listening to Christmas.
What does this mean? This means no obligations, no productivity, no work and no hurry. I have a storage bench that faces out our bedroom window that I love. I will light my lavender lemon candle and listen for 10 minutes. In my mind I thought, / seriously don't have time for 10 minutes of stillness in December with all the travel and work and partiesI. That thought alone made me think, oh my goodness I need this 10 minutes!!! It's not a long time at all. But it's 10 minutes for me to be still and listen. To create a breathing room for myself that I can step into any time of day. Sacred and holy minutes.
I'm not sure what I expect to hear this month. My husband asked me what "listening to Christmas" means to me. I think it means I want to hear the bells, the reindeer, the snow fall (or rain fall in San Diego's case), I want to hear Santa and his ho ho ho. I want to cause time to S L O W down amidst this fast paced season. But really I want the message of Christmas to draw near to me. I want to know joy to the world is not a song but real life. I want to hear that hope is the voice of truth. I want to hear that love still wins. I want to hear a certain baby's first cry that echoes into my present with surprising tenderness.
This Christmas I will listen.