First, let me introduce myself. I’m Cheryl Harper, a new Heartwarming author (A Minute on the Lips, coming February 2014), and I’m so happy to have a chance to blog here today. Right now, preparing for Christmas with my family is on my mind. How many times have I answered the same question over the past week? “Are you ready?” Most of the time, I shrug and nod in a “What are you gonna do?” kind of way. Because Christmas is a deadline with no wiggle room, right? The real answer is “No.” I’m not ready. I’m still finding my Christmas spirit.
True confession: as I get older, I seem to be losing my ability to be on time. When I was young, fifteen minutes early was on time and anything after that was late. Time-to-panic late. Now, unless I’m in an airport where I must be an hour early or die, I find myself racing to be on time too much and late often enough that it only causes mild discomfort, not panic. That might be one of the silver linings to getting older: less energy to panic.
This year my Christmas spirit has been on a very slow build. Because I’m a planner, I’ve still made logical lists and crossed them off one by one so I have everything in place (EARLY!), but I’ve been missing that glow. I wish I could blame book deadlines or a heavy work load, but it’s really just me. Now I can see that bells ringing and Santa Claus coming to town don’t wipe away the worries, hurts, and fears of the other eleven months so I have to look harder to find the twinkle.
I’ve always loved the holidays. I’m a fan of over the top, so the decorations, the parties, the food are something to look forward to. This year, it’s taken a little more time, but with every ornament exchange, lunch with my friends, random act of kindness I read about, and card I open, I’m getting it. When I look at the ornament that was my favorite growing up and now hangs on my tree, I remember decorating the tree with my mother and the promise of Christmas morning. It’s a good reminder of where the spirit comes from: love and family and gifts that cost little but mean so much. To me, Christmas has always been about hope. And I want that even if I have to pursue it. I might wish the holiday spirit had hit the day after Thanksgiving, but I’m happy to see it grow even if it is at the last minute.