I’m glad that there is no law that can charge me with blog neglect, because I would surely be guilty! It’s been quite a while. It’s not like there is nothing going on or I don’t have anything to write about. In fact, there’s been so much going on, I really don’t know where to start! I guess it’s the nature of this time of year.

I had a conversation with a colleague of my husband’s about this just after Thanksgiving. I was busy decorating the office for Christmas and he came out to say hello. He shook his head and said, “Don’t you get enough of this at home?” When I asked what he meant, he said, “My wife’s got boxes and boxes strung out at home and it takes her all week to decorate. I hate it – all of it. Christmas has been reduced to commercialism and pressure to get the best gift. I put on a happy face for my grandchildren, but I can’t wait for it to be over. There is no meaning anymore.”

Wow. You know, if you’re not careful, that’s enough to suck the joy right out of you! I know the commercialism of Christmas has taken a toll, but isn’t it up to us how we celebrate and where we put our focus? Isn’t it up to us whether we allow our joy to be stolen from us?

I had an email sent to me this week that had a bunch of quotes from kids. One in particular stuck out in light of this conversation I had. It went like this:

“Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening the presents and listen.” Bobby, Age 7

Isn’t that fabulous? Couldn’t it be applied to the entire season? If we stop for a minute while we’re shopping, blocking out the frenzied noise and listening from the quiet of our hearts, wouldn’t we “hear” the love we have for those for whom we shop? Wouldn’t we be able to let the joy of giving wash over us? Couldn’t we say no to that 17th party on the calendar in favor of staying home and basking in the glow of tree lights in our kids’ eyes? Of course…we only become blind and deaf to the real meaning of Christmas if we, ourselves, close our eyes and ears.

I’m standing on the belief that no amount of trips to the mall, or credit card bills, or party invitations, or blow-up yard decor, can snuff out the Joy that arrived in a manger so many years ago. That star is still shining bright for those who look for it, and LOVE and JOY are still ringing out for those who stop and listen.