November to December 2017. I couldn’t be more grateful.
I thought that once I started to write about the holidays, I would begin by saying a few complaints, resentments, wish I shoulda’s, and so on. Reason is that I think this time it was the fastest paced holiday season my husband and I experienced. Yet, we were able to keep pace minus a cold that had me down for a little over a week.
We celebrated Thanksgiving in Tucson. Hometown for most of our families. Out of courtesy, we didn’t host Thanksgiving, which over the years I’ve grown to love to do. Instead, we shuffled ourselves to the Old Pueblo, to have it at my sister’s so that the family could easily enjoy it and head into work early next day ‘Black Friday’.
It had been years since we were all together. It was wonderful to hear our laughter all under one roof. Our time was short as we quickly came back home the next day to set up our home in Christmas decor before we ventured ourselves to New York! My crazy ideas. Yes, let us press our limits and do all we can to decorate so that when we return a week later, we can relish in it. My husband is so patient no matter my nutty antics.
Our trip to New York was a treat! We’ve never been in New York City for the Christmas season. As soon as we landed, we felt the excitement in the air. I’ve never been anywhere else for the Christmas season besides Arizona and Las Vegas. So, I really didn’t know what to expect other than what you see on TV for holiday specials at Rockefeller or Christmas shows. However, Christmas was definitely everywhere. I mean everywhere. It’s like the Mayor must’ve told all to exude it or be fired. From the cabs, to the shops, to carolers on the street corners, to the decor, Christmas trees everywhere. Places to grab a hot cocoa or warm pastry. Adults were like children. And yes, the shopper frenzy was full force. I know my husband and I were taken by it all. The store windows blew us away with their Christmas spirit. Truly, it was magical. Better than Disneyland. Over and over. Well, I’m not really a fan of Disney, but you get what I’m saying.
We also couldn’t have planned it better to visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral during the first Sunday of Advent. It was the highlight for sure. Capped off why we were there in NYC to everything else. And to boot, Cardinal Dolan celebrated the Mass. It was perfect!
So coming back from this trip, set us on the right foot. So I thought.
Came back with a bad cold. My ears hurt so much, but thanks to God, no infection. Just the pressure of the flights back caused pain like I didn’t know could happen. Had I known, I would’ve tried to prepare myself better. It took over a week to get fully well. Because of this, I missed out on some opportunities to things I wanted to be a part of for the Advent season, but what could I do. Once I got full steam again, I tried to accommodate the time I missed leading up to Christmas. That only caused my reflection and time with Jesus to get squeezed out.
We spent Christmas in Tucson. It was already planned in November that we journey down there. But my husband and I shared our sentiments, in that, we just wanted to stay home and take in these next blessed days. Well, no chance, and so we put on the game face and headed south back to Tucson. Over Christmas eve and day, we traveled here and there to visit all we could and came back home exhausted. I think something should be said. That all family members participate in this exercise so that everyone knows what it is like to have to do this. When we were younger, it was not a big deal. It’s exhausting now. Ok, I know, move on.
Once we returned home, is when I feel Advent kicked in for me. The week in between Christmas and New Year’s Day. All the readings, encounters with relatives, unity, love, came to me like a rush. I had an energy and peace that I couldn’t get myself to pay attention to. And even though throughout Advent, I did try to stay connected in various ways, what I had planned to do (extra reading, extra Mass attendance, lessons, charity), I couldn’t get to. I would insert short prayers throughout this hectic time. Our Lord knew what I was seeking. He knew my intention of spending more time. He knew I was pushing myself to help make a Christmas for others. He knew there was restlessness in my heart over a matter I needed desperately to be resolved. And so it happened. Our Lord gave me a Christmas with the most clarity I have ever had. Not because I didn’t need to do any of that obedient nurturing, but to show me, I do need that obedient nurturing and to live it out now. I have to fine tune the engine again. Always a good reminder and lesson.
Thank you Holy Spirit! Thank you Magnificat! Thank you Advent handbook! Thank you strangers who I would have lengthy conversations with out of the blue! Thank you Lord God for the countless blessings you helped us witness during this time. +++
2 thoughts on “Is it too late for Advent?”
Not so different from my Advent! Best intentions…bought three Advent books (yes, I know, such a shocker to you that I thought I needed not one, not two, but THREE books…) and then in the middle of heading to Kansas for early early Christmas, a college graduation, a son home from college, one marriage proposal from the other son, then me being sick with the cold and flu and most everybody around me, and then holiday party this and gotta do the family tradition that — it was over. I thought to myself on Dec. 24: well, it’s fitting that we get to go to mass for Advent and a few hours later turn around and go have Christmas at the same church we just attended before lunch…because that summed up Advent season for me. And yes, after all that hullaballoo – the Christmas season was actually a lot more peaceful. Intentions are just that – trying your best to be a whole lot to a whole lot of people – some of it good and deserving and some where you likely should just say – no, not this year (that was us on Dec. 24 at 4 p.m. when we realized the paper sacks, candles and sand for the luminarias were sitting forlorn in the laundry room because we all got so busy we FORGOT to make the luminarias and set them out and light them at dusk – so we said, nope. Not happening this year. And we went off to mass.) And the world didn’t end because we forgot them. Anyways – welcome to 2018. You and I have nearly 300 days before we get to try, try again for Advent…
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I so appreciate your input. You write with such an easy flow! Looks like you too had a busy Advent. We fell in the same boat I guess. 🙃 But it sounds like your December had so many great events! I loved following it in pictures on IG. Yes I know. The back to back Mass attendance. My husband thought I was pulling his leg lol! Thank you! Thanks for sharing we’re all in this together. Your support! You’re right! Hopefully we can do it better this year. Happy New Year too!!