Since we’re still amid the Christmas season, Merry Christmas! In lieu of keeping traditions of past Christmas seasons, my mentality during my personal preparation for this one was different as well. I can call to mind several things that used to help me stay in the Christmas spirit: lights on houses, nicely ornamented trees, decorated stores, holiday music on the radio 24/7, and more. Those were the types of things that got me excited for December 25th.
This year my house didn’t have any lights up outside, garland inside, nor did we have a big beautifully ornamented Christmas tree like we normally would. I’m actually laughing to myself as I type this because you probably think we’re grinches! Haha. (We had a cute mini tree; we gave our large one to my brother and sister-in-law for their new house.) If I had my 15 or 16 year-old mind, or maybe even 18, I would probably be upset, nagging my mom about why our house isn’t decorated enough like it used to be when I was younger. Perhaps it’s because I’m the last of the three Estorninos children left at the house and I’m already grown up?
The night before I left for Texas, my parents and I were on our way home from an Advent Recollection and Eucharistic Adoration, which was splendid, if I may add. After passing houses with the usual Christmas decorations all nicely lit up, I mentioned that I didn’t mind not having a lot up or decorated at home. I’m certain that there are several options for decorating the exterior of the house without having to deal with cold weather or getting older, but that’s besides the point. We agreed that those particular things really don’t matter anymore, and that the most important things are to mentally prepare ourselves for Christmas through constant prayer and reflection and making our homes like Bethlehem; simply, just a place where our Savior can stay, an ambience of true love and peace. Decorations weren’t necessary for the three of us this year because we were all mindful of what was really important.
This Advent season, we were more focused on the exteriors and interiors of ourselves, and to me, that has made all the difference. Lights, garland, wreaths… they don’t mean much unless we, the ones putting these decorations up, are focused on why we do, what we do. I did mention in the beginning how traditions of past Christmases have changed, but the roots are still there. I’m all for putting up Christmas trees, wreaths, garlands, and lights outside! As long as it goes hand in hand with the families living within the houses, striving to be like the Holy Family, whose feast we celebrated today. Let’s break the secular traditions of what society has shaped the “Holiday Season” to be and truly bring back the true meaning of the CHRISTmas season. It’s ultimately about His True Presence in our lives and in our own homes and allowing love and peace to flourish. Rejoice! Rejoice!