Scores of churches have embarked upon Advent in preparation for Christmas. Celebration is in the air. Lights and music and glitter pop up everywhere. I, on the other hand, hunker down.
What calls to me this time every year is solitude and contemplation in preparation for New Year’s Day. Every year, following Thanksgiving, I find myself drawing within, shutting down, and spinning a protective cocoon. Winter weather is a great facilitator for curling up and hibernating. I have work to do, deep inner work.
Introspection, reflection, observing and watching, waiting and standing back all seem the most appropriate and helpful response to year’s end. Speaking for myself, Christmas is more a distraction that must be endured. I do as little for Christmas as I can get away with. The week between Christmas and New Years is both deliciously somber and sacred.
I never go out on New Years’ Eve. It is the night before everything starts over, new chapters are begun, fresh calendars fill with blank pages; everything is wide open. It has little to do with religion, and everything to do with spaciousness, hope and faith. I want to be ready.