Getting Back into the Spirit

I took off for college in Minnesota in 2005 and haven’t been back to Washington for Thanksgiving until now. Last week, I celebrated Thanksgiving with my parents for the first time in 8 years. It was a simple affair, with enough food to supply the rest of the week with leftovers. I went into a proper food coma and napped on the couch and then enjoyed the rest of the evening eating dessert, watching TV with my Dad and playing Scrabble with my mom.
I haven’t celebrated Thanksgiving this way in so long.

After Thanksgiving, of course, marks the mad season of shopping and decorating and holiday partying and traveling. We started playing Christmas music (the old-fashioned way, as is always done in our home), found the perfect Christmas tree (which I cut down myself), and began pulling out all the iconic Christmas decorations. 


So I’m home for the holidays. And how do I feel? That’s an interesting question, especially after four years of intentionally planning events and creating meaning during a time of year that doesn’t really look any different than any other time of the year in Taiwan, save for the sparse commercial festivity that decked some of the streets and department stores. And now here I am, in the land that does it right… right?
Being back home this time of year is teaching me an interesting lesson. Yes, I do “feel” the Christmas spirit a little more, as the atmosphere is infused with movies, commercials, sales, decorations and music that are all bursting with some kind of meaning of Christmas. I see it and hear it everywhere – there’s no escaping it around here, which is great! But all the same, Christmas spirit (and this is what I’m learning) cannot be maintained by festivity and atmosphere alone. It’s something deeper. 
I watched A Charlie Brown Christmas on TV last night. And it was Linus’s solo performance of the meaning of Christmas that has inspired me to enter into a deeper experience of the 2013 Christmas Season. 

(It’s already a different one, besides – I’m home.)

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