Start where you are

Coloured lights strung in a snow-covered shrub.

Last winter I was not in a good headspace.  I didn’t do well with the Remembrance Project last year, and the Advent project came hot on it’s heels and I just didn’t feel like I had the introspection chops, so I just didn’t even start the Advent project. Little did I know what was just around the corner.

The year has been filled with challenges and difficulty, but in my world, I feel pretty blessed. My son came home from military college and has spent the last 9 months working from Duty Station Casa di Swears. I never thought I’d have him home for much more than a week when he’s on leave. I worked on my garden edging, finally made my shade nook in the back of my garden. I knocked off some things that have been on my to-do list forever. I found a local(ish) farm and mill to get fresh milled wheat and rye flour, but I didn’t quite get on the sourdough thing. I organized my mudroom but ran out of steam sorting the last 2 boxes of random collected ephemera, stuff that came out of my car when the lease ended, and things that don’t have an actual place where they belong. I put every hat, scarf, mitten, and glove on my dining room table, and everyone claimed what they wanted to keep. Unsurprisingly, the 5 identical left-handed leather gloves with no partners did not go back into the Keepers basket.

So now, with one day left in the month, and one page left on the calendar, I feel like the start of this Advent project is a long time coming. Since March, the only times I’ve been inside a church was for a funeral. I still pray, but I feel a little lapsed. So what better time to look to the Nativity to renew my spiritual self?

This year, as we look at a very different holiday season, it’s without some of the traditions that we thought were so integral to our ability to celebrate. so now, we start where we are. If you find holiday obligations a difficult burden, find joy in the dissipated pressure. If you miss the Christmas concerts and giant family gatherings, find joy in the more intimate possibilities. Wherever you find yourself, start looking there. There’s joy, we just need to recognize what it looks like without the touchstones we’re used to.

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