My daughter’s birthday is at the start of November. Back in September we decided how we were going to celebrate, and through the beginning of this strange new school reality, we knew that it was coming up. We could look forward to it. Despite the number of unbalanced balls we had in the air (some of them on fire), we could anticipate that weekend with curiosity and joy.
The birthday came, the birthday went, another teenager exists in my home – and a great time was had by all on the weekend in question. Flash forward to now – the end of November. Earlier this week I was reflecting on the fact that I have nothing on the calendar to anticipate. Don’t get me wrong; Christmas is coming and I love Christmas – but this year especially the Christmas season is a very blurry blob on the winter horizon, with no clear definition.
What I’ve been missing is something more tangible to anticipate, in the same way as my last blogpost reflected on how the lack of tangible annual rituals has messed with my sense of the year. With new restrictions and covid cases rising, the lack of those two things – anticipation of events and fresh memories from events – have had me floating in the ether.
Then I got something on my calendar. Something tangible to look forward to – and I felt my feet touch the ground.
So here is my encouragement to you today. Put something on the calendar. It can be a particular hike, or a ski trail you’re going to do. It could be a day of baking or making freezer meals. It could be a day to volunteer your time in a specific way. It could be sharing some Christmas music by Zoom with your family from away.
Or take it up a notch and make that day a deadline. For example: I will write a song by December 10th and I will play it for my friend Philomena. I will sketch every day until Christmas (and here is the chart where I tick off the days after I’ve done the sketching). Make it specific, and in an area where you want to grow but also that brings you joy. Build in that anticipation piece.
Once your day comes – your hike, ski, baking, song-sharing, whatever is complete – take time to enjoy the thing that you just accomplished. Then pick another day and set another thing in ink on your calendar to anticipate.
In anticipating the blurry season ahead called Christmas, words from the old carol are dancing (yes, like sugarplums) in my head. “Tidings of comfort and joy”. May those be our watchwords and our hope this December. May there be comfort and joy in your world as we learn to celebrate and share our lights in new ways this Christmas.
Shine on, Friends.