It is Christmas Eve, little kids are running around, trying to make themselves tired so that they sleep through the night. Everyone prepares for Santa's arrival. "Put the cookies on the fireplace, Did you pour the milk? Don't forget a carrot for Rudolf! Where is Santa?" The Santa Tracker, run by NASA itself, is pulled up on the family computer. It says...
Only four hours until Santa's arrival!
As the night draws to a close, everyone settles down, kids are ushered to bed, still buzzing. Weary parents rub their eyes and shuffle to put the finishing touches on gifts -- hoping to catch a few hours of sleep before the kids are up and running again... Then, four hours go by.
Santa has arrived, in your hometown.
He doesn't even forget the Grinch. As the sun rises, joy rises with it. In many homes, excitement and anticipation awaken each member of the family and for that moment in time, life is picture perfect. The 25th of December, with all the traditions, memories, and fun, is a constant-- and as the new year draws near, another constant does as well. Everyone gathers to watch the ball drop, followed by celebration. Then, life settles down again as students get back to school, parents to work, and Santa begins planning for next year...
8760 hours until arrival.
Christmas is a constant. It has been for centuries. In my world, I can expect how Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day will be spent. I'm sure you can too. Yet, as I pull up Santa's Tracker tonight, I can't help but acknowledge the astounding amount of change that time allows. As a senior in high school, 8760 hours from this very moment, my life will have changed dramatically. Unfortunately, there is no way to predict exactly what my circumstances will be. I can dream, I can hope, but I will never be able to say --
"In four hours, I will have arrived."
So as I contemplate and appreciate the familiar traditions of Christmas and New Years and all that they bring, I am reminded that the seasons of life also bring periods of uncertain change. Resting in the comfort of traditions is pleasant but growth requires learning to lean in to the unfamiliar as well. Just as a teetering toddler finds her footing through a courageous first step, we each are presented with the choice to take life's next step with courage when the course and direction of life seems less familiar than Santa's arrival or the drop off the shimmery New Year's Ball.
Join me in inviting a New Year that will unfold in new ways, allowing growth that we never new possible.
"Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night..."