So, today I am going to start baking homemade rolls for Thanksgiving.  We are going to be at a friend’s home this year (Thanks, Tiffany!) so I don’t have to actually prepare the entire meal, which is so nice!  And, there will be about twelve people, so that will be really nice, too.  I really prefer Thanksgiving when there are a lot of folks to enjoy it with.

We are also going to be cleaning house today and tomorrow, because this weekend, we will be putting up all of our Christmas decorations!  So, I am thinking about the Holidays, and how fast they seem to be racing toward us.  It will all be here (and then gone!) before I know it.

Faith’s friend, Anamarie, said something the other day that really made me think. I have not looked forward to celebrating Christmas for a very long time, because it seems like we are always so short on money when it rolls around, no matter how much I’ve saved for it during the year.  (This year, for example, I have had to dump almost $1000 into my car in the past WEEK!  That was Christmas money.  Now, it’s just a painful memory. 🙁 )

But, back to Anamarie.  I was driving the girls somewhere, and she pipes up in her adorable little twelve-year-old voice and says “I can’t wait for Christmas!”  And I said “Really?  Why?  What is it that you enjoy most about Christmas?”  I wasn’t being sarcastic in any way.  I really wanted to know.  Sometimes it is just so nice to get a glimpse of the world through the eyes of a child.  It’s almost always a nicer place than I tend to think it is. Well, she explained that she loves putting up the tree, and opening presents, and getting to go to both of her grandmother’s homes for more presents and for yummy food.  Hmm.  I remember feeling excited about those things.  It was a long, long time ago.  Somehow that excitement has gotten away from me over the years.

Okay, I don’t mean to be on a total downer here.  I am merely taking an honest assessment.  And, yes, I am very well aware of the fact that Christmas is not supposed to be about all that stuff, but that all of that stuff is supposed to be about Christmas.  The birth of the Savior of the world, the Christ Child.  And we do things every year to remind ourselves of that fact, to celebrate and focus on that meaning.  We light the Advent Candles every evening, and pray together as a family.  We go to Daily Mass more often, and we attend special church services.  We celebrate Wigilia, and go to Midnight Mass.  And don’t get me wrong:  I *LOVE* those things!  But I still find it very difficult to get in the mood when the time comes.

But this year, I am really going to try, really hard, to focus on the *spirit* of the season, and not worry about all the rest of it.  Yes, I would really love a big family Thanksgiving or Christmas, where all my family joined us and we had this wonderful time together, then all went to church together.  I would love to feel a sense of hopefulness about the future of our country.  I would love to think that our house is about to sell! 😛  But none of those things are real.  What is real, though, is God, and the blessings that He has given us.  So, I am focusing on the blessings, and on being Thankful for them, as we Head for the Holidays.

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