I finally tossed out most of the remaining candy, because I was the only one eating it and I certainly don't need that right now. So we're left with a chewed-on jack-o-lantern, mountains of laundry, piles of forgotten school paperwork, and zero Christmas preparedness. I'm thinking of adding to our family tradition; we'll keep the jack-o-lantern, regardless of its state of decomposition, on the front porch until Advent. Eh? You like that? Every time I see that masticated pumpkin it reminds me that bigger stuff is coming. Christmas. I'm not ready.
The quick high of Halloween and subsequent dousing of saccharine commercial Christmas followed by the gluttony of Thanksgiving is enough to make actual Christmas and the end of the year anti-climatic and energy-draining. It's easy to get caught up in the rush only to arrive at January 1 feeling limp.
The Church, in her infinite wisdom, knows this. That's why there's Advent. A time to pull back and simplify and ready the soul to celebrate the coming of the Messiah. A time to strip everything down to it's most basic and to spend the time joyfully waiting.
Our whopping five-year old family tradition is not to decorate for Christmas, tree and all, until Christmas Eve, other than putting lights on outside the house at the start of Advent, and this year I need this spartan reminder even more. There somehow seems to be a lot more crazy in my life and I need to prepare to prepare for Christmas.
Luckily, I've got one more week before Advent begins, and I'm going to try to get it together. Probably I will still end up doing things at the last minute, and probably I will still end up with half-completed projects and probably I will forget (again) to do anything special for St. Nicholas's feast day but at least....I'm thinking about it. Whatever sort of alms giving or volunteer service we end up rendering will probably frighten whoever we try to help out, but we'll have tried, and our kids will have seen us giving of ourselves to others outside our family, and that is important.
The rotted pumpkin on my front porch will soon be replaced by hopeful, twinkling white lights, and our holiday