Where will Christmas find you? You know, that feeling that tells you it is a special time of the year, one of comfort and warmth and a full heart.
If I work at it I can identify important points in my life simply by where Christmas found me that particular year. It has happened at a Christmas tree farm, at a church, looking at a computer and while talking on the radio, among other places.
The thing is, Christmas usually doesn’t find me where or when I plan for it. And I think it is the same for lots of people. It might not be at the table heaped with food and surrounded by those you love. It might not be at the delight of squealing children, rushing into a room full of toys waiting to be discovered. Christmas might not find you at church as you hear the story of the birth of Jesus, or listening to angelic voices in a choir. It might not find you while witnessing a live Nativity scene or enduring a gaggle of fifth graders mumbling through a holiday production.
On the other hand, Christmas might find you as you speak to a police officer and backhandedly find out he took a bullet in the line of duty since the last time you spoke. It might be as you stand in the glow of a well-lit tree, peering through the window at a dark driveway in anticipation of headlights, or watching the same driveway longing for headlights that will never come, thinking about years past when loved ones beat a path to your door. It might even be as you sit on the floor of a living room at some ridiculous hour of the night trying to assemble something you don’t understand using instructions written in Chinese. There is no right answer. There is no perfect time or place for Christmas to find you and for you to find it.
So what do I think you need to do in order to have a chance to find Christmas? It is pretty simple, really. Just stop. Stop texting, talking, moving, shaking and buying. Stop looking, thinking, worrying, and obsessing. Stop looking at FB and your phone. Stop selling —and going, going, going.
You can wrap the presents, you can put up the lights, you can prepare the food, but if you don’t stop and let the moment find you, then all you are doing is making the effort and getting none of the reward.
This year, my Christmas wish to you is simply that you will find time to stop. That’s it, stop, and let Christmas find you.
(Here’s something that stopped me in my tracks. Have you seen it? An opera group does a flash mob kind of thing in an airport… enjoy and Merry Christmas.)