Saturday, December 31, 2016

Seasons then and now


Oh the joy and blissful expectations each new holiday season brings! The excitement of the winter holiday season is built up in us from the time we're young children. This excitement continues through our lifetime, but it morphs into something new as the years progress. Sitting on the verge of a new year, I wanted to take a look at how two of the major holidays change for many over the years. 

Christmas Then
As children, we eagerly awaited the arrival of Christmas. Depending upon your views and beliefs, the reasons may differ a bit, but it's a safe choice to say you were excited for Christmas. Whether it was the Christmas program you were taking part in, the gifts you would receive, or both, you were excited for Christmas. Your days and weeks leading up to Christmas were filled with building excitement. 

Eventually, the big day would arrive. Christmas programs were completed, gifts were open and you started counting the days to the next holiday. Your excitement had peaked and you moved on enjoying the new toys you had to play with.

Christmas Now
As a parent (my experience), Christmas is still a time of joy and excitement. As a Christian adult, I am focused on the joy of what celebrating the birth of our Savior means to me...and you. As a parent, I am excited to see my two little girls do their parts in the children's Christmas service. Leading up to Christmas though, the weeks are filled with a different kind of anticipation as well. Will my girls like the gifts we bought for them for Christmas? Will the roads be clear for our trip to see family? Have we remembered to pack everything we need for that trip? 

This year for example, things didn't go as planned. We had an ice storm looming for our Christmas Day travels from Minnesota to Wisconsin. Because of this, we chose to leave Christmas Eve and stay in a hotel at the halfway point to get ahead of the storm. That plan was great until our youngest daughter started throwing up at 3am in the hotel room. Long story short - we made it to our final destination the next day, but it was quite eventful...and a lot of work. 

In the end, we as parents still got to see the joy on our kids' faces as they performed in the Christmas program and then as they quickly opened their Christmas presents before we hit the road. We still made it to see family and had a great time with them as well. Even with the setbacks we had, it was a wonderful Christmas. As an adult though, we experience the stress of the holiday along with the joys. Our blissfully ignorant days are over, but our understanding of the true meaning and joys of Christmas are greater and stronger than ever.  

New Year's Then
I won't lie.... I am well versed in the act of partying. Truth be told, I was a little too good at it for a number of years. Back in the day, New Year's Eve was just another excuse to cut loose and have some fun. Then again, Thursday nights were pretty good for that too. 

Scrolling through my Facebook feed this evening, I saw numerous posts from some of the younger, single friends I have that showed a meme comparing a couple kissing at midnight to them sitting by themselves. The other common posts by my younger friends were about them getting dressed up for a night on the town. I remember those days...except for the getting dressed up part. Jeans and a t-shirt worked fine for a night on the town for the New Year's Eve celebration. I enjoyed those days, but I'm not overly excited to repeat them. 

New Year's Now
Once again, I won't lie.... It's been a number of years since I was actually awake at midnight on New Year's Eve. It's kind of funny since I do occasionally stay out past midnight with friends just for the sake of hanging out. Maybe it's some special gene that mutates in the body after a certain age that doesn't allow you to stay awake past 11:45pm on New Year's Eve?? That, or maybe it's the mature stubbornness that is only acquired in the advanced years of age. Or, something about not wanting to let society tell me I need to stay awake until midnight to watch a ball drop??

Whatever the reason, I am now completely happy to stay at home on New Years Eve and relax. No loud parties. No crazy drivers out on the roads. No feeling wiped out in the morning. Instead, I am writing a blog post...while my wife is also writing her own blog post...while we "watch" Netflix and pretend we know what's going on with the show we're watching. And you know what...I am completely happy and content with that. 

Happy New Year's to you, your family and friends. I wish you the best in this new year. God Bless! Until next time....