Anticipation and Joy this Holiday Season

Do you feel like this weekend is the calm before the holiday storm?

I wish the peaceful sense of organization I feel right now would last through the end of December!

It’s almost like the mess of our “half decorated house” with ornaments scattered on the tree, on the couch, on the book shelves and random age old Christmas decorations (like an adorable but worn out angel my mom bought in 1985!) help me feel more comfortable, more at ease now compared to the perfection expected with everything in its place as we near the actual holiday.

But when do we actually begin to enjoy the holidays?

I’ll never forget a former student of mine at New Trier High School asking me to not only read her essay arguing how the true excitement and happiness of the holiday season remains in the pre-holiday season: (the anticipation of gifts, the planning of fancy dinner menus, the shopping for others RATHER THAN the actual big day) but she wanted to discuss, to happily argue, to critically think about this concept of hope and anticipation creating greater happiness than the actual event.

10 years later, especially as we approach the holidays, I still contemplate her wise words, her insightful thoughts, her willingness to open her mind to take in other perspectives and let them sit.

Perhaps the point is to appreciate the beauty in the mess, in the organized chaos, in the excitement of creative possibility with where to place each ornament on the tree, even the picture ornament of my spouse at an awkward 15 years old, kept throughout all of these seasons, wondering why we hold onto this old picture, wondering what exactly my husband was like during this time in his life, realizing the reason why we hold onto this ornament fuels the joy of this wonder.

Like you, I eagerly await not only the unfolding of this holiday but the happy chaos waiting to surprise me for better or worse as I take another moment to reflect upon the gift of anticipation, goodness and hope.

With much love and gratitude,

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