1. You discover new things.
You go to a Christmas party and discover your friend makes the most wonderful, delicious pumpkin pie. Why would she not tell you this talent she has? You have no idea. She uses real pumpkin, not canned, she says. She offers you a slice to take home to your husband, and of course, you say yes, thank you, he’ll love it. But then, at home, as you put it in the refrigerator—you remember that he really doesn’t like pumpkin pie as much as you do. He likes mincemeat pie. You tell him about the pie in the refrigerator and add, “Of course you prefer mincemeat, right?” He says, “Oh, you can have it. I know how much you like pumpkin pie.” You do just as he suggests. Later he says, “Bronwyn! Did you eat my pie?” You defend yourself. “Remember? You said I could have it.” And he says, “I didn’t think you’d really eat it.” Pumpkin pie made with real pumpkin, not canned, can taste delicious but it can cause problems. So a warning to any of you offered a slice to take home to your husband.
2. Old friends/acquaintances that you don’t hear from for the entire year ~ suddenly feel the need to call or write at Christmastime.
Think of it. Has anyone ever called you and said, “I’ve been thinking of you and wanted to call and wish you a joyous Labor Day?” When Labor Day arrives at the end of summer, most people are thinking of back-to-school shopping or throwing burgers on the barbeque. If you live in the Arizona desert, you’re spinning pirouettes in celebration the days of summer are about to cool down to 200-degrees. No one is thinking of calling old friends.
3. You get presents.
No other time, except maybe your birthday, do you get to open presents that you told your husband to buy for you. This is how you are surprised without being surprised. “Oh, I love this mug rack (that I picked out for myself)! How thoughtful of me!” This works well in our home as no one is disappointed with their gifts.
4. You relive happy memories with each ornament you hang on the Christmas tree.
“Aw, this red bell made out of construction paper is so precious. But who made this? There isn’t a name on the back of it!” We pretend our son made it for us when he was in Kindergarten. “Isn’t our son a genius artist!” I say as I hang it on the tree. Jerry and I can’t be certain our son made it since there isn’t a name on the back of it. Still, it’s a cherished memory.
5. You stand in long lines at the stores.
Most of you probably wouldn’t consider waiting in line a joy, but I discovered a few days ago that a long line has its benefits. “Jerry, I’m going in this store,” I said and thought he would follow me inside. But he didn’t. He waited outside. I grabbed what I needed and stood in line. A hundred people waited ahead of me, well maybe only ten or twenty. The line moved slowly. This made an excellent opportunity to brainstorm a plot for a future novel since I recently heard an author say she observes people in public settings to create scenes for her book. “Think ‘what if’ and imagine situations,” she said. Hmmm…What if I imagined a chandelier hung from the ceiling above? What if I suddenly heard a loud snap and the chandelier plummeted from the ceiling, landing splat on top of the lady standing in front of me in line? What if she screeched and pointed toward me yelling, “She did it!” as she writhed in pain? “No,” I say, “I didn’t do anything. I don’t know what you’re talking about!” …When my turn at checkout arrived, I had a great opening scene for a novel. I paid and left the store. Jerry fumed, “I’ve waited 20 minutes for you!” I explained the long line and apologized. He said, “You said you were going to dash in. That wasn’t dashing in.” I told him I never use the word “dash” and so I couldn’t have said that. “I distinctly heard you say ‘dash,’” he said, his eyebrows clinched in a mad fury. I realized then I need to improve my communication and explain my plan to Jerry before “hurrying” into a store. I didn’t think I should share my opening scene to my book at that time.
6. You’re invited to events you’re never invited to any other time of year.
Like the church Christmas tea where you relax and sip tea with your friends while listening to a speaker talk about the crazy stress the holidays bring. Or you get an invite to a cookie exchange where you munch on homemade cookies with the neighbors and compare which cookies you like the most. “Uh, who made these ghastly snickerdoodles?” …“Well, if you must know. I did!” …But my favorite event at Christmas is the Golf Cart Parade. To attend this event, you just step outside your front door and wave to the golf carts lit up in colored lights and putt-putting down your street. You don’t see golf cart parades at Easter or Valentine’s Day, but at Christmas they beep and scoot and twinkle in a long, happy convoy.
7. The seventh joy of Christmas is writing down your goals for the new year. (You thought I’d say ‘spending time with the family over Christmas dinner.’ Nope. It’s goals.)
Here are mine for 2016, to give you an idea of the challenges I will tackle in the coming year.
a) Learn to speak fluent Spanish. Tengo que practicar.
b) Buy the Hurricane Mop.
c) Get orthotics or dye pink streaks in my hair.
d) Get up earlier than noon.
“The great challenge left to us is to cut through all the glitz and glam of the season that has grown increasingly secular and commercial,
and be reminded of the beauty (and joy) of the One who is Christmas.”