From Thanksgiving to Epiphany I feel cheated of the season and the holiday. The four weeks preceding Christmas are a time that I like to reflect on my life, see what I've done, think about what I want to do in the time I have left. I like to celebrate Christmas during the Christmas season, not before, and I don't want to put away the Christmas things until Christmas season is done on January 6th.
Instead, Advent has become a time of endless Christmas carols played repeatedly in every restaurant and store (too loudly, and often in tasteless renditions), mailboxes and newspapers heaped with shameful tons of advertising, people behaving badly behind the wheels of their cars in order to get parking spaces or hurry along in frenetic schedules that they've become brainwashed into believing they must keep.
(How's that for a run-on sentence!)
It's like trying to pray while someone runs a jackhammer in the next pew.
"Hurry up!" screams the media. "It's almost over!"
"But wait," I say, "it hasn't begun yet!"
It's also the shortest day of the year today, and I like to consider that phenomenon as well. Last night I was plagued by nightmares, and the darkness seemed so long. In one dream, I was asleep and having a nightmare, and went to my mother to tell her that I was afraid. She made room for me beside her as she did when I was a child, and comforted me. When I got up this morning, I remembered how she would say after every Winter Solstice, "Now the days will get a little longer every day." A simple sentence, but a comfort, nevertheless.