This year is coming to a close, and this season it didn’t really feel much like Christmas. I’m not quite sure why, but I think part of it has to do with the lack of snow. I don’t know how people do it. I don’t like having a brown Christmas. Being caught up in preparations for our CD release party we didn’t have time to put ornaments on the tree that’s decided to lean at a hilarious angle this year. Even the candlelit portion of Christmas Eve service – which has always been my favorite – fell flat for me this year. Sometimes I wonder if this is what it means to be a grownup: responsibilities and practicalities overriding the warmth of tradition and treasure. In our day-to-day lives we tend to lose our sense of wonder, and Christmas serves as a reminder to us of all the wondrous things we encounter and overlook. Or…it’s supposed to.

While at my grandparent’s farm over the weekend I read a book called “The Christmas Tree” by Julie Salamon. It’s such a lovely little read and I strongly recommend you to read it; I finished it in within the hour. The book has its own charm and meaning, but what it filled me with and reminded me about most was this sense of wonder.

Growing up in Minnesota I remember getting feet of snow in one snowfall, building forts complete with tunnels in my friend Katie’s front yard, sledding down the driveway and hoping my dad would catch me at the bottom though sometimes he missed and thank goodness we didn’t live in a busy neighborhood 😉 I may not wake up to that much snow anymore and may have to ignore the patches of brown poking through the light dusting, but the sight of snow flurries dancing in the air still sets my heart aflutter. And while I may have had a brown Christmas, I got my snowfall not long after. One of the trees in our yard used to look like a Hershey kiss, and while Hershey has grown quite a bit, he forever has a branch that sticks out and looks like he’s waving to you as you drive up. And It may be bitterly cold but the sun is still shining and the pink roses my grandparents gave us still smile brightly at me when I come upstairs in the morning. “The Christmas Tree” is about a nun who grew up with a beautiful Norway Spruce, and the narrator wants it for Rockefeller Center’s Christmas tree. The thing Sister Anthony said that struck me was how her father would greet every morning by asking “What lies out there for us today?”

What a beautiful way to begin each day. What adventures might we embark on? What treasure might we come across? What lessons might we learn? What itty bitty little thing might plant a touch of wonder in this world? These are the things we should be open to, in our hearts and our minds, and with the coming of the New Year, it is the question I want to begin asking myself.
What lies out there for us this year? What lies out there for us each and every day? I hope you all find your own special way to celebrate tonight, and I hope tomorrow you wake up ready to begin the New Year with eyes that search for the smallest bit of wonderment.

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