An exercise in stream of conscious writing
When I woke up at 4:30 this morning, I could not help but remember how many times as a kid that 4:30 did not seem so early for Christmas morning. This time I did not run to the living room to see what Santa had brought. This time I laid in vws and started thinking about a range of things.
Now it is six hours later, I have fixed a Christmas morning brunch, started sourdough bread, and am just generally relaxed. Christmas no longer resembles the ones from my childhood. Circumstances have forced Christmas to be refocused.
The Upper Room devotional reaffirmed this may be a natural transition in our lives as we age (at least I translated that from the narrative), but I had to remember this was written at least a year ago–before the pandemic. Here is the final statement in this reflection:
“For a long time, Christmas was just an annual tradition with to-do lists and performances. This year, I experienced Christmas from another perspective as I let myself come as a person longing to see the Savior.”
In the midst of the pandemic, we have been called to change our patterns of behavior. We are to stay away from our annual family gatherings–and some easily add up to over 20. We wear masks wherever we go, even into the bank lobbies. And we stay home.
I cannot imagine how this year’s experience is going to transform our lives as we move forward, but it must. We must all refocus our values; to put our faith in God first, our family next, and then we can begin developing our individual goals, passions, bucket lists, and so on.
Personally, I cannot seem to think ahead right now. We have become fixated on the immediate situation of the pandemic with no defined end in sight. Yes, we need to get vaccinated, but it is not yet readily available. Instead, masks, social distancing, and washing hands become our norm–not bad but good habits, really.
Oddly, as I had to face a quarantine before Christmas, I could not help but compare it to an experience when I was in 6th grade. I had the lead role in our elementary Christmas play, and I got German measles–my brother and myself.
Two weeks we were at home. We had a hide-a-bed sofa in the front room. Mom pulled it out and we stayed there most of the time. There were some behaviors that had to change then too.
For instance, at that time the medical field thought we should not use our eyes much so the lights were dimmed, no TV watching (it was fairly new in our household and it was only on in the evenings–after supper), and no one could come around because it was so contagious. We even had a doctor who made a house call and we lived 8 miles out of town.
For two weeks before Christmas, we were confined to the house on the farm. Mom read us a book. We ate meals on that hide-a-bed sofa, stayed in our pajamas, and waited for the measles to go away. And they did. The doctor gave us the ok on Christmas Eve to go out.
Dad took us shopping in town. I can remember vividly going to Ben Franklin to Christmas shop. I can’t remember what we got except for one thing–the Brach’s Christmas star chocolates from the bulk candy counter. Odd that that stands out over any other shopping we did.
Yes, I had missed my star role in the Christmas play. My brother and I had two weeks off school. It was a very different Christmas, but we had the old-fashioned measles healed just in time for Christmas.
This year I got out of quarantine one week before Christmas Day. We did not get to shop very much. I did not get to bake like I usually do. We did not have social gatherings. We have not even gone to see Christmas lights. Why I did not even put up the Christmas tree!
- A year ago, I would never have expected our year to be transformed like it has been.
- A year ago, I would have never thought I would miss participating in our church’s Advent and Christmas Eve services.
- A year ago, I never dreamed getting COVID-19 would change my Christmas routines.
- A year from now, I hope to have the vaccine.
- A year from now, I hope my values remain focused on the reason for the season–the birth of Jesus Christ who taught us how to love one another.
A year from now . . . well who can tell. I just hope we can preserve some of the positives that can protect us from losing the focus on our values: faith, family, and friends.