It’s December, the peak of the holiday season, filled with hustle and bustle, a new to-do list along with all of the every day tasks. A magical, fun filled time of year, filled with mirth, merriment and melodies or at least that’s what TV Christmas specials and commercials show us. Yet, it all seems like a distraction, a shiny object designed to pull our attention from the world around us to some  idealistic world that never really existed.

Giant Gift box for Christmas
Part of me wants to believe in this magic, the Christmas miracles of miraculous healing, saving orphans, and fixing poor relationships all while still finding the perfect set of gifts, Christmas cards and holiday food to make everything perfect. But when this perfect set of events doesn’t happen, I find myself stretching for more and trying to bring in just one more thing that will make things complete. Over the years I’ve gradually released many of my expectations for a perfect holiday but sometimes there is a nagging feeling that I should do more for the season.

Christmas with Dr. Seuss
This cultural urging to strive for an ideal holiday isn’t leading to extra happiness for me or I suspect anyone around me so this year I want to focus on the ordinary instead of seek for the extraordinary. For me, it is stopping on our front porch in the morning, taking a moment to listen in the silence , while the morning sun warms the deck at my feet. It’s walking in a neighborhood where a few Christmas decorations have been placed, not perfectly, but bringing up feelings of the holidays as I enjoy the new scenery. It’s also me chuckling at the pickup truck at the traffic light that has been covered with a string of Christmas lights which looks like it will drain the car battery in five minutes or less but will brighten the night for those five minutes.

House with Christmas Lights
Most of all, it’s enjoying moments with my family, as we share time and conversation, time with friends as we exchange small gifts and hugs and laughter from watching our cat chase around the house in search of some phantom creature that he will catch this time instead of slipping on the tile floor. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone, may you all find joy in this holiday season in those little things that are all around us.

Pictures by J.T. Harpster