30 November 2014

And So November Ends

I am always surprised when it's the last day of November.  I'm not sure why, since Thanksgiving - even if not as close as this year - is often at the end of the month, and one of my sisters' birthdays is the 29th, so I know the next day is the only day left in the month.

Maybe it's because I like November.  It's usually the month when the cool and crisp of autumn starts working its way to the cold of December.  When people actually start to think of others, reminded that Thanksgiving is on the way, and that all of us have *something* to be thankful for.  In our house, there's also The Tim's birthday, so there is birthday cake to be followed by pumpkin pie a week or so later!

And then, Thanksgiving itself - a holiday that I feel is the coziest of them all.  When the whole idea is to stay put and enjoy the day (even though some feel the need to go shopping), and it's OK to eat  more than you might on any other day.  I am fortunate, since for me it's almost always a four-day weekend, so I am able to enjoy relaxing but also accomplish some things, without feeling rushed.

This year, as happens often, the last Sunday of November is also the first Sunday of Advent.  I am not the most devoutly religious person on earth, though I do have strong beliefs, and consider myself to be very spiritual.  I love Advent; the word itself is defined as "the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event,"  and I think anticipation is one of the most exciting things that anyone can experience. Advent is just that for so many.  Waiting for the arrival of the Savior for some; for a bicycle for others; for a family gathering that is way overdue for many - whether they are about the "real" meaning of Christmas or not, I think they all are.  Advent and Christmastime can be what you want them to be, regardless of their origins in any given culture.

Just as some people scoff at thankfulness at Thanksgiving, because they "don't need a day to be thankful" they are thankful all year, etc., people discount this time of year as being too commercial, too consumer-oriented, etc.

I believe that yes, we should be thankful all year, but sometimes that  is harder than others, so if there is a day to make us stop and reflect, that can't be a bad thing.  And for those who decry commercialism, consumerism, and the "secularization" of this time of year, I would like to point out that everyone has a choice of the way they choose to observe it.  Though we may be surrounded by things we do not agree with, that is the case all of the time.

Holidays - all of them - are what you make it, or what you want to make it.  I choose to ignore the grumblers and do what I want to do.

And so today, I am extremely excited that Advent has arrived.  So much hope, so much expectation, so much chance for light at a dark time of the year.  May your Advent season be a happy one, regardless of what "notable person, thing, or event" is the one you await.

O Come O Come Emmanuel*

(*click to listen)


Mereknits said...

Lovely post today Bridget.
Hugs to you,

Kym said...

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday! Family, food, and time to kick back a little ---- with none of the expectations and obligations of Christmas! :-) I also love Advent -- the whole notion of bringing light to the darkness. Enjoy.

Lorette said...

I love Advent too. Though I had to work yesterday and didn't get to Mass. It is such a hopeful time of year. I need to dig out the Advent candles.

elns said...

Such a beautiful post Bridget! I love it and I agree with you. I realized in my late 20s that I didn't have to fight with the holidays. I was angry about them because I felt obligated, but that I was a grown up, and I could make them my own. And to this day, I'm so grateful, so thankful for the moments to reflect, anticipate and celebrate internally for what is and externally with those I care for and love.

Now Valentine's day on the other hand .... ;) ha!