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A Different Kind of Christmas

I am slow, behind. Your blog posts are going unread. My head reels with thoughts of sofas and chairs and what to do with the table in the kitchen? I am furnishing an entire beach house in my head (and on Pinterest). When these sortings graciously step aside for a moment, Jazzy and the Pirate rushes in, insisting on being finished. Finished—ha! I’m still organizing research and plot points and character traits, but I have—mirabile dictu!—written a synopsis BEFORE I’ve written the novel, never done that before. All of this is happening as my husband and I scurry all over the country; in one month we’ll have spent time in New Orleans, Memphis, North Carolina, Alabama, and Arkansas. Okay, we’re scurrying all over the South. But still.

And now it’s Advent.

Last year, I tracked Mary’s progress as she and Tall Jesus made their way toward the birthing. Some of you walked that journey with me. The plodding movement honored each day like a child slowly tapping a drum. That experiment was inspired by Sybil MacBeth’s book The Season of the Nativity, which I wrote about here. Sybil hasn’t written a new book for this Advent, so I’m on my own.

When I consider the upcoming season—Advent, Christmas—I feel myself pulling back. Retreating. Over the years I’ve occasionally moaned about the Christmas hustle and bustle—how am I supposed to do my normal things then layer Christmas on top of that?—but this is different. I want to go to a different place.

I want a place of bare limbs and fallen leaves and white clouded skies.
Where the earth waits for the footstep and one last leaf clings to a twig.
I want to wander through the draped cedars, tromping spiky yellow grass that crunches with frost.
I want to burrow underneath reality to get to where the bones lie, the beginning of ourselves as people, those who felt the shortening days and in their fear did not run from the night but created a celebration that set the darkness on center stage.

I’ve celebrated Christmas with old toys and with orange and red lights and with Amaryllis, and I’m well aware that every year I choose not to put out decorations is one less year of my life to enjoy what has said “Christmas” to me ever since I became an adult making my own choices (and yes, one of those choices is the Christmas Kermit the Frog a MacDonald’s handed out when I was driving by myself from Jackson to Charlotte, and I love that frog because in all its ridiculous commercialism, it says “Christmas” to me.)

Maybe it’s all the noise over red coffee cups and the shouting about being a Christian at Christmas. Maybe my head has been too full of decorated things this last few months. Whatever, I think I’m taking a break and, this year, I’ll be celebrating the world that has been and will be and into which the baby was born.


p.s. We’ve removed some plug-ins from the site and done other esoteric things so I’m hoping the timeout problem we’ve been having with comments is fixed; please let me know if it’s still a hassle! ?


Advent, Red Cups and Christmas, Sybil MacBeth, The Season of the Nativity

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