The older we get, the more we realize that life is lived in the simple moments, not the earth-moving upheavals that motivate us towards change. Change is necessary, and it often leads to improvements in our lives. But major movement forward doesn’t do us much good if we can’t stop on the journey long enough to enjoy the ride. Christmas is a great example.
I’m using my finely aged wisdom this year to do something I say I’ll do every holiday and rarely accomplish: I’m taking each day and appreciating the wonder of what we do as humans to celebrate this season. I’m turning on the tree and lighting up my Santas, my village and my manger scene first thing in the morning. Why should I limit myself to night-time savoring of Christmas glitter when the reality of this time of year is that it’s dark when you get up?
Then there are days when savoring is not hard at all. On Sunday, that meant filling my soul with music. Last Christmas, there was no concert in my family for the first time in years. My daughter’s no longer in high school band; my dad was too sick to sing in one of the choirs he always loved with a passion; my brother was taking a much needed break from his non-paying job: providing the world with musical talent. But this year, I was back in the church where I’ve heard so many of my brother’s concerts. And I could not stop my foot from tapping, my head from swaying and my heart from simply expanding with each note. I’ve always been so proud of my family’s musical talent. I’ve always loved the seasons that were filled with the result of that talent. Thanks to Mark for an early birthday/Christmas present.
As long as I’m expressing my gratitude, Saturday was also filled with simple moments of pleasure, and I have the community of Woodbridge and surrounding areas to thank. Mom and I had our last holiday book event; a craft fair at Garfield High School. We sold more books than we have since the major event Applebee’s hosted for us. But that’s not what made the day so wonderful. It was the conversations we had with people who stopped by our table and who exhibited their wares. From the woman who was thrilled enough with what we do to buy three sets of our books to give to her best friends to the vendor across from us who made wooden reindeer and knew how to make children smile, the day was filled with moments of pleasure and celebration.
I have to confess, it’s easier to savor the simple things when life doesn’t give you major bumps during the season, and my heart goes out to anyone who is going through those bumps. But for those just having a regular year, take a few extra minutes to make your loved one’s package spectacular; stop feeling guilty for sampling the fudge early; crank up the radio in your car and sing along; drive slowly through your neighborhood and appreciate the efforts people put into their homes; say “happy holidays” to as many random people as you can. These are the moments that make the season sparkle.
Genilee Swope Parente