The Forgotten Holiday

When my oldest son was eight or nine, my husband brought home a surprise for him. It was the original Star Wars trilogy on DVD (I know, right?--that was a while ago:) At the time, my two little boys had seen some clips of it on TV and my brothers did their best to light-saber fight with them at family dinners, but they hadn't seen Star Wars in its full glory, not from beginning to end or with all the cool new CGI stuff that George Lucas included in the DVD release. What was his response to this special and thoughtful gift?

"I'm not ready!!!" he wailed.

My husband and I just looked at each other, baffled and incredulous. Is he really doing this? Wasn't this something that he really wanted and would enjoy? In all fairness to my son, surprises and transitions have been very hard for him to handle over the years. He's turned into a sparkling adult, but he still doesn't like surprises very much.

Well, friends. That's how I feel about Christmas creeping up on us sooner every year. I love it. It's my favorite holiday, but I'm. Not. Ready!

My youngest son is already terribly annoyed by all the Christmas lights popping up on houses in the neighborhood, and before my birthday which comes a little sooner than Thanksgiving. I've always thought of my birthday as in the Fall, not in the Winter. The dearest girl in the world, who grew up right next door and whom I adore more than words, posted on Facebook that she caved and had already put up a Christmas tree. This was at the beginning of November. This last week, I had the privilege of serving up dinner every night to 60 kids who are performing in Oklahoma! at the local high school. The director has them run both acts every night and they are starving and so grateful for food. They say thank you so much it makes me smile. It's always nice to run into teenagers with good manners and who are sincere in their gratitude. The other lady I worked with (we're a team of drama mamas) works for one of the nearby malls. In fact, she is the common area manager, so her big job this time of year is making the inside of the mall look festive for Christmas, including getting ready for Santa to come and visit children in his cute little village. She's already wearing her red sweater, white knitted scarf, ornament earrings, and listening to the Michael Buble Christmas album in her car.

Again, let me stress this point. I don't find anything wrong with this at all, I'm just not ready. And for some reason, I want to enjoy Thanksgiving. A lot of people find fault with this most American holiday. To me, in its barest form, it's an opportunity for us as a people to contemplate what a phenomenal way of life we live in this country. We are fortunate; we are blessed. Whatever language you want to use to describe the comfort and security that most of us experience because we live here. We're not perfect, not by a long shot, and there is more dissension in the country than we've had since the Civil War, but America is still one of the best places on the planet to call home. And, I'm grateful for that.

So, put up your lights and your tree, start listening to Christmas music and, by all means, start shopping (you can't get done in time if you don't:), but don't think of Thanksgiving as just a stepping stone to the more important holiday. It's an opportunity to be grateful, and I think that's important. As for me, I still have pumpkins and cornstalks on my porch awaiting a hearty Thanksgiving celebration:)

How do you feel about Christmas overshadowing Thanksgiving? I'd love to hear about it.


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