December 6, 2020
Smile, breathe and go slowly.
– Thich Nhat Hanh
Typically, the holidays can feel like a whirlwind- special events to attend, decorations to put up, light displays to see, gifts to make, buy and wrap, baking….. Each activity feels exciting and important on its own, yet they add up quickly to make the holiday season go by in one exhausting blur. This year, however, the events are far fewer, the shopping will mostly be done online (or made by hand!), and other changes will come that slow things down a bit. This year presents us all with an opportunity to welcome the slower pace and adapt in positive and enduring ways.
My family honors Advent during the holiday season. It is a preparation for the coming of the Child of Light. For us, this time of year actually marks the beginning of a great winding down. Or, more appropriately, a winding inward. Instead of being swept away by all the lights and action, we focus on slowing down and being together. We pick our events outside of the house very carefully and make gifts as time allows. We have small traditions, such as setting up a nativity and lighting the Advent spiral in prayer together. Mostly, we snuggle up to read aloud more often with hot cocoa and tea. We read stories of nature and people preparing the way for winter’s waiting and the joy of Christmas as the rebirth of Light in our hearts. We try to be more gentle with ourselves and each other. We try to remember foremost what we love about each other, rather than what may be frustrating us at the moment. For these brief weeks, there is an impulse more vibrant than at any other time of the year to center our life around joy and love.
I hope that you, too, are welcoming the slower pace of this year’s holiday season, and finding more moments of joy and love.