Don’t know about you, but I’m approaching December 21st with relief. No more trips to the mall for last-minute gifts! No more mall, either! The fact that we have only one pathetic little clump of outdoor lights in one big tree outside will no longer matter. The unwritten and unsent cards—no worries! If the world has to end, what better day than tomorrow? I’m probably as ready as I’ll ever be to arrive at the Pearly Gates (considering I keep committing the exact same sins over and over and I’m not optimistic about change), so bring it on!
I never have been completely ready for Christmas, but sometimes my lack of prep has been comical. As just one example, for years I was included in a neighborhood cookie swap. I am not exaggerating when I say that I never began baking my cookies until the midnight before the party at the earliest. One memorable year I was an hour late for the festivities because the cookies were still in the oven. Nothing says stress quite like racing to an event that late, holding limp bags of hot, crumbly cookies. For some strange reason I was dropped off the invitation list eventually. Whew!
Working in a church means there’s Advent/Christmas craziness too. During the critical week when most people are shopping and decking halls, I am always running a prayer center which requires my constant presence in church daily until 9 PM. I sit in the narthex and stew about what isn’t getting done at home. And now it’s (supposedly) less than a week until our big day (Christmas Eve). By tomorrow, Meg the secretary has to assemble 800 bulletins for 5 different church services. And things could be better for the 4 PM pageant at this point: my Innkeeper just resigned, and I haven’t been able to find a live Baby Jesus. Arrggghhh!!
But wait! Maybe we’re all off the hook! Those prescient Mayans ended their calendar at December 21,, 2012, which to many people automatically means it’s The End, period (and not, perhaps, that the Mayan civilization ended before anyone could update the calendar).
So what am I doing today?
I’m avoiding chores like crazy, because I’d hate to clean the house if it’s all coming to a screeching halt tomorrow. What a waste of energy and furniture polish THAT would be! I plan to consume a 10,000 calorie dinner. I will go to bed without flossing (who needs teeth in the afterlife)?
I want to look back on today and know I spent it doing things I loved to do, with people I loved. Prophecies and prognostications aside, we none of us know the End of the Story. Only God does. Meanwhile, I hope I can remember to cherish my life, every minute. And as I pray and pray for the grieving families in Newtown, I give thanks that I am lucky enough to have my kids to hug, even if it’s just for today.