It was the second day of December, and already the spirit was taking hold. Have a good Christmas I overheard one joyfully say to another as she turned to go. I’ve always loved a shift in energy that can be felt when the Christmas season begins. There is a certain softness that seems to blanket the fast-paced frenzy that people find themselves in.
I recognize that influential to this energy is the lens through which we see. Feeling joyful – or not – determines if we notice when others are also happy. I didn’t observe how many entered this store at the same time, never noticing the holiday greeting. Perhaps someone else walked past noticing only that the sunshine was void as it played hide and seek.
Just as I have felt in prior years, a similar feeling started whispering. Why is it that gentleness and joy are heightened for a month and then retreat? What is it about this shift in energy that seems to dissipate shortly after a new year rings? People talk of how busy the holiday season is, yet I would argue life is busy all year through. Any thoughts dear readers on why the spirt of the season doesn’t last much past and a Happy New Year, too?
Perhaps my own heart learned to feel joy in the season through a lifelong tradition taught me. I anticipate even before I was old enough to open the door behind each number, I was learning the joy of anticipating. It is only recent that our advent calendars became paperless and the joy of the tradition took on double meaning. Now instead of being only the recipient, we also get the joyfulness of filling another’s calendar with treats.
This year my calendar is filled with the theme of joy, no coincidence in that certainly! It is only day six as I write this, and already I am blessed with a mirror reflection back to me. The surprises are not only gifts of things I am loving in my receiving. Each reflects the things that I hold most dear or thoroughly enjoy doing. Said another way, joy is not only in the Christmas delight of an advent calendar with treasures that await. Joy is available in every moment we experience and in every choice we make.
One of my favorite quotes from Maya Angelou states when we cast our bread upon the waters, we can presume that someone downstream whose face we will never know will benefit from our action, as we who are downstream from another will profit from that grantor’s gift. I had the honor of seeing a stranger’s eyes light up and hear her voice delightfully surprised when I handed her day five’s wish. Yet, when I mentioned to her to pay forward kindness, and she said she most certainly would as she also expressed a heartfelt thank you, I walked away with even more buoyancy in my joy that a ripple of kindness was now cascading beyond where I knew.
December is also a month I reflect on the resolutions to intend as the stroke of midnight welcomes in a new year of beginnings. I already know one of them is to do what I can to keep the spirit of the season continuing. Merry, joy, peace, love, happy, blessed – words spoken, in song, and in cards mailed and given, too. That we will not let the meaning of these words get put away with the decorations for another year my hope we all endeavor to do.