Christmas and Advent: busy-ness and reflection

I know it’s 2018 and I’m still reflecting on 2017.

December was a pretty full-on month here. There’s now something like 8 birthdays of close (emotionally, not necessarily geographically) friends and family between the last week of November and the first week of December, including my son’s own.

Add to that that both my wife and I were trying to get all sorts of things done at work before the holiday period started, and we got a nasty cold to fend off, and we were trying to make a trip to see relatives in Cambridge, Christmas really took a bit of a back seat.  We didn’t really do much of anything with our church, and had little time to engage in the typical advent process of reflective preparation, and when Christmas finally landed, we had little energy for feasting and celebration.

I’d been thinking that I wish this was all the other way….that Christmas Day celebration marked the START of the time of preparation; that the time between Christmas and new year that many (but, yes, not all) people traditionally have off work to spend with family was when you got to pause and reflect; and that New Year itself, and not Christmas, was the culmination of it all.

I then found myself talking with a good friend, who happens to be pretty in touch with the Anglican church calendar, about the church calendar. And he expressed, I think, a similar frustration. That the church’s activities in the run-up to Christmas don’t really fit with the activities of most families (or maybe just the particularly average, nuclear-type of family that I think we probably are) in the modern world, and that the advent time of reflection would be better suited to the week between Christmas and New Year.

He also pointed out that most people do their reflecting on the year gone by and their preparing for the year ahead at that time anyway.

So…hmm…I’m just thinking out loud.

I’m under no illusion that I might be able to change Christmas, but it does seem that the expectations that the church puts on people don’t match with how a lot of people live out the month of December.

Anyway, I’m rested, reflected, and hopefully prepared.  Let’s do 2018!